Liberal group on air against Gerlach, Kuhl
A liberal advocacy group is launching a series of radio ads against two House Republicans in competitive districts, highlighting their votes last week against a pro-labor bill.
Americans United for Change, which started two years ago as a non-profit designed to thwart President Bush's proposal to reform Social Security, is going on the radio against Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and Randy Kuhl (D-N.Y.), both of whom survived the electoral tides in 2006 against Republicans.
Kuhl, who won by just 6,000 votes, and Gerlach, who won by 3,000 votes, are already top targets for Democrats as they eye the 2008 landscape of GOP-held seats in areas tilting toward Democratic candidates in general.
This ad campaign by Americans United, which by law must not be coordinated with House Democrats, is the latest sign of what amounts to the permanent campaign for people like Gerlach and Kuhl. Only about $60,000 worth of ads were put up against Gerlach and Kuhl, but they are significant because the come so early in the campaign cycle.
And in competitive district like these, outside groups are now spending almost as much as the candidates themselves -- mostly on negative campaign commercials.
In Gerlach's 6th District of Pennsylvania, which wraps around the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia, the Democratic and Republican campaign committees spent a combined $6.9 million in so-called independent expenditures.[http://www.swingstateproject.com/tag.do;jsessionid=2712426689D7F0F67073C48515372915?tag=Independent+Expenditures]
Throw in another $300,00 or so in ads from outside groups similar to Americans United, and groups not directly affiliated with Gerlach and his opponent, Lois Murphy (D), spent more than $7.3 million in that race - almost as much as the $7.5 million the two candidates spent combined.
To listen to the new ads, click here: http://www.americansunitedforchange.org/blog/entries/know_your_congressman/
"We're going to be spending a lot of energy educating the folks in their districts how their Congressmen turned their backs on middle class American workers last week," said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change.
The bill, the Employee Free Choice Act, would make it easier for labor groups to organize -- something Republicans contended was a Democratic pay-off to Big Labor for their vociferous support in the 2006 elections, and Republican critics noted that there were not assurances of secret ballot processes in organizing votes.
The bill passed the House 241-185, with 13 Republicans joining Democrats. Interestingly, a dozen of those Republicans hailed from districts in the Northeast and Midwest, similarly situated to those held by Gerlach and Kuhl.
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