RNC Goes to Bat for House GOP Campaign Chief
New York Rep. Tom Reynolds, the man charged with protecting House Republicans' majority in the fall elections, is facing such a tough reelection fight that the national party is entering the fray to attack his Democratic candidate as a wealthy tax raiser.
"Attention all shoppers," says the narrator in the Republican National Committee-funded ad. "Starting today prices are going up." The ad says businessman Jack Davis (D) favors "tariffs on many of the products you buy," equating Davis's position to a tax hike. "Higher prices may mot matter to millionaire Jack Davis, but everyone else will feel the pain," the narrator says. (Watch the ad here.)
The importance of this ad is two-fold.
First, it marks the first foray of the RNC's independent expenditure arm into a House contest. As previously reported, the RNC -- for the first time in recent memory -- has set up its own independent operation designed to bring its financial advantage over the Democratic National Committee to bear. To date the focus of the RNC has been on the Senate races in Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee. But Republican strategists familiar with the operation have always refused to rule out the possibility that the RNC would decide to weigh in on House contests as well. We now know why.
Second, it shows the depth of damage done to Reynolds -- head of the National Republican Congressional Committee -- by the Rep. Mark Foley revelations. After running comfortably ahead in New York's 26th District for more than a year, Reynolds plummeted following his acknowledgement that he knew about the overly friendly e-mails from Foley to a House page. Republicans insist Reynolds is making up ground but admit it will be a close contest. The RNC ad is another acknowledgement of his vulnerability.
Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the RNC, said the decision to run ads in Reynolds's district reflected the fact that "his reelection is so critically important to the state and his constituents," adding that "Davis's economic plans are reckless."
Diaz said the the Reynolds ad buy is "further proof of our commitment to returning Republican majorities this fall."
The question sure to keep Democrats up tonight is whether the RNC's ad buy is an isolated incident or the first of a series of House-race ads sponsored by the RNC. Recent financial disclosures show the committee is well stocked should it decide to spend heavily to keep Republicans in control of the House. At the end of August, the RNC had $39 million in the bank compared with the DNC's $11 million. The DNC has taken out a line of credit of between $5 and $10 million, however, to provide additional funds to House and Senate races in the final three weeks.
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