Shadowy Republican group behind massive ad buy for Erica Smith

Pay close attention folks, campaign meddling has already begun:

Faith and Power, a new political action committee with ties to Republicans, formally launched on January 29 and quickly placed a $1.56 million broadcast ad in the Democratic primary, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission and the Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group. The ad aims to boost Smith over Cal Cunningham, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and has raised significantly more money.

"Who's the Democrat for US Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith," says the ad's narrator. "Who's got the courage to vote for 'Medicare for All'? Erica Smith. The number one supporter of the Green New Deal? Erica Smith again."

You don't even need Occam's Razor to figure this one out, Occam's Butterknife will do. Why would Republicans boost one Dem over another in a Primary? Because they believe she would be easier to beat come November. While this ad appears to be targeted directly at left-leaning Dems, it also includes triggers (Unions, Green New Deal) to stoke fear and revulsion in conservative and even some moderate voters. Here's a little more on the group running the ads:

Filings made with the FEC on Jan. 29, when the group was formed, show it will bank with Chain Bridge Bank, a financial institution founded by former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) that frequently does business with Republican political committees, including President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Public filings with the Federal Communications Commission show the group’s television spots were purchased by Neylan & Partners, a Republican media buyer that has worked with Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List and an outside group that backed former HP chief executive Carly Fiorina’s 2016 presidential campaign.

At the end of the day, you can boil this down to one word: Racism. This group believes that North Carolina will not elect an African-American in the General Election come November. Unfortunately, history tends to back that up. Our state has never elected an African-American to represent us in the United States Senate. But there's always a first time for everything.



I had to cover this

Both the Hill and CNN broke the story early yesterday, and when I didn't see it covered (yet) by NC's mainstream news outlets, I came to the conclusion that *somebody* needed to. The ads are running right now (I think) and will run thru mid-month, and people need to know who's paying for them and why.

Perusing the FCC website...

And yes, WRAL has a contract to run these ads worth $70,000+. It's small compared to what Vote Vets is spending on Cal's behalf, but it will be interesting to see how deep WRAL digs into Faith and Power...

I regret my previous

I regret my previous announcement of support for Smith. Should have known better.

Not really her fault...

She is being used by Republicans, plain and simple. The best way to combat such interference is to not allow it to change our votes, one way or another. That way they really have pissed away over a million dollars.

Exactly right!

I have supported Smith from the beginning and will continue to support her now. She is not responsible for what some outside group chooses to do, especially one that her campaign wouldn't give the time of day to. It's also an open question as to whether their ideas about this race (and race as a political card) are correct. It may well be that Smith's presence as the Dem Senate nominee will help bring out the African-American vote to a far greater extent and benefit the entire Dem ticket, both up and down ballot, come November.

I have small sympathy for Cunningham, who has been a less-than-team player in NC Democratic politics and is himself being pushed at us by outside forces who actively dislike the progressive wing of the party. The DSCC needs to stop endorsing candidates in primaries and let voters decide without putting their thumbs on the scale, especially in terms of fundraising. The reason Cunningham's numbers are so good has little to do with his actual strength as a candidate and much more to do with the direct backing of Senatorial campaign committees and the DSCC. Why should we get upset by one candidate getting unasked for (and probably unwanted) help from one outside group and not when another candidate actively courts and receives outside help? I'm still with Smith, the more progressive candidate, all the way.

What I meant to say is ...

Ever since the Kay Hagan days, I have sworn off expressing myself about candidates in primaries. I should have kept to my oath.

I know Smith had nothing to do with this dirty campaign move, I still think she deserves support. I just shouldn't have done any premature endorsing. It always trips me up.


If you'll remember, the first time we met I left your house to go to John Edwards' birthday party. And wasn't that a Larry Kissell fundraiser? But the day was not wasted, my friend.

I hate to point out the obvious here, but ....

... the Republicans appearing to be wanting to set up the race card here, thinking Tillis will have a better chance against a Black candidate.

This should be a "heads up" that the Dems may be facing the same nausiating shenanigans we saw during the Jesse Helms days.

Remember the Helms "hands" ad?

The guy who did the ad will still using the same tactic years later. And we can expect the GOP to do it again this time around, especially with the racism and white nationalism of Trump himself.

The big question in the room for Democrats right now is how will we respond. Will Tillis be held to account for the racism and white nationalism of Trump he is supporting?

We cannot simply ignore the issue of GOP race-baiting as we've done in the past, hoping not to "offend" anyone by not talking about it. There's too much at stake to be damn polite.