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Posted at 2:00 PM ET, 02/ 4/2011

House Democrats and Crossroads GPS spar over David Rivera

By Rachel Weiner

Dueling radio ad campaigns from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the conservative-aligned Crossroads GPS has turned into a public relations battle over a vulnerable House Republican: Florida's David Rivera.

The DCCC went up Monday with ads targeting 19 Republican incumbents. Crossroads responded with ads in the exact same districts saying "Pelosi's gang launched negative ads attacking" Republican legislators "for doing the hard work of trying to fix the budget mess she created."

Now the DCCC is fighting back against Crossroads for defending one representative in particular.

"If Karl Rove and his American Crossroads special interest funders want to rush to the defense of Representative David Rivera that's up to them but voters should be concerned that a group like Rove's is ignoring Rivera's rap sheet and misdeeds," DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said. "If this shadowy special interest funded group wants to come to the rescue of someone like David Rivera than it tells us all we need to know about the kind of candidates they'll chose to defend."

As The Fix reported earlier this week, Rivera has fallen under an ethical cloud since winning the open 25th district in 2010.

Crossroads, a 501(c)(4) organization that was founded with advisory help from Rove as well as former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and spent millions on ads in the 2010 midterms, was quick to respond.

"Democrat[ic] leaders are in bed with the big spending interests and bureaucrat unions, are unwilling to propose real spending reductions, and are instead focused on negative attacks," said Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. "Indeed, they're acting as though the 2010 electoral shellacking never occurred -- but with the same folks in power, why would anyone expect different results?"

The spat is an early sign that Crossroads will be a major player in the 2012 election -- not only funding ads but going to head-to-head with Democratic groups.

By Rachel Weiner  | February 4, 2011; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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