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Pa. Senate: Pro-Santorum Ads Launched

Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) is getting some help from an outside group as he seeks to make up a double-digit deficit to state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D).

Americans For Job Security, an independent group that advocates pro-business positions, is running $500,000 worth of TV ads in every market in the state (with the exception of the costly Philadelphia area) that tout Santorum's accomplishments.

As images of a child playing in fall leaves is shown, a narrator says, "Pennsylvania families relax a little more these days because Rick Santorum is getting things done every day." Among Santorum's accomplishments mentioned in the commercial are his work to secure $300 billion in tax relief, eliminating the marriage penalty tax and increasing the per-child tax credit.

"Call and say thanks because Rick Santorum is the one getting it done," the narrator says at the spot's conclusion." Scroll down to watch one of the ads.

AJS is sponsoring two weeks of ads in five of Pennsylvania's six major media markets.  The group is spending $174,000 in Pittsburgh, $117,000 in Harrisburg, $83,000 in Wilkes-Barre, $42,000 in Erie and $35,000 in Johnstown/Altoona.

Casey's campaign immediately called on AJS to disclose the donors who sponsored the ads and urged Santorum to do the same. "Rick Santorum should be honest with the people of Pennsylvania and bring his backers out of the shadows," said Jay Reiff, who is managing Casey's Senate campaign.

John Brabender, Santorum's media consultant, said the reaction by the Casey campaign to the AJS ads was a sign they are "nervous" that the commercials will remind voters about Santorum's accomplishments for working families.

AJS is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)6 organization and as a result does not have to make its donor list publicly available. Because of its tax status, the group cannot directly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate but can run issue-advocacy campaigns "educating" voters about where politicians stand on the issues.

AJS was a major player during the 2004 cycle, running ads in Senate races in South Dakota, Colorado, Alaska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Mike Dubke, president of AJS, said the ads are "kickoff for what we are going to be doing" in the 2006 cycle. As for choosing Pennsylvania as its first target, Dubke said the state's close divisions long partisan lines made it attractive for the group. "It is one of the more purple states in the country," he explained.

Click 'play' below to watch one of the AJS ads:

Americans for Job Security began running TV ads across Pennsylvania this week in support of Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-Pa.) record in Congress. Santorum faces a tough reelection challenge next year from state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D). (Ad is courtesy Americans for Job Security.)

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 21, 2005; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Posted by: PLATIUM FINANCIAL BANK GIVES OUT LOANS | May 28, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The most confounding thing about this senatorial race is that Rick Santorum is the incumbent. How was it the Pennsylvania voters failed to see this guy for who and what he was when he ran in 2000? This guy is an idiot.

To engage in any intelligent discourse about this man is truly a waste of engery. We can only pray that the Pennyslvania electorate redeem itself and elect Democrat Casey.

Posted by: Joseph R. Moreno | December 1, 2005 5:23 PM | Report abuse

We in PA. have 2 rep. Senators in a dem. leaning state.Some got confused for awhile.We remembered John Heinz and some thought Ricky would be a good republican like him.He's not even a good human being. I joined a Democrat committee a few years ago just so I can be there when PA. takes him down. Say a prayer for the good, hardworking people from Pennsylvania.

Posted by: SCOTCOP | November 28, 2005 3:01 AM | Report abuse

These ads just seem really odd at this point. I'm watching the local news, and all of a sudden a campaign ad comes on with the election a full year away. It almost feels desparate this early. The whole time I think, 'how bad must the poll numbers be if they have to start now?'

I'm just waing for the next round - 'Rick Santorum - protecting your kids from homos, bestiality and dirty old men.'

Posted by: Tim J | November 27, 2005 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Chris failed to mention in his "Sympathetic Vibrations" article that the RT Strategies poll still only give GWB a 41% approval rating. Funny how that happened.

Posted by: Banko News Team | November 27, 2005 12:21 PM | Report abuse

You find out a lot more about this Senator at:

Posted by: Mike Panetta | November 23, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Santorum rode the 1994 Republican wave to a 49-47 victory over Sen. Harris Wofford. He beat Rep. Ron Klink 52-46 in 2000. Had he run in any year other than 94, he would never have been elected. Just like Ashcroft (MO), Abraham (MI), and Grams (MN) lost their first reelection bids in 2000. (PA Dems made a mistake by nominating Klink in 2000 instead of now-Rep. Allyson Schwartz. She could have beat him. Instead we gave up the race in 2000, and Schwartz is now a first-term Congresswoman who's stuck unable to challenge him.)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | November 22, 2005 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Santorum won by Rove like tactics. He represented himself as a moderate like Dick Thornburg and Arlen Spector in a blue state. He clobbered his competition with negative ads ( I forgot his opponent now I dont think is was Harris Wofford but it may have been). What helped Santorum win was Casey's father (the son is now running against Santorum) had the Demo party in PA in an uproar because he was pro-choice and was ostacized by the National Democratic party during the 1990's and it hurt Dems until Ed Rendell brought the party back togethr.

Posted by: db | November 22, 2005 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Snow has a better chance of falling in Nicaragua than Santorum does of winning re-election.

I have been aghast virtually every time this man opens his mouth. What he sees as priorities is incredibly out-of-touch with a state that is hardly crimson red.
I think the thing I find most surprising is that Santorum managed to get himself elected at all. If nothing else kills his chances, his unfortunate book will.

Nobody wants to feel that they are being represented by a complete dullard.

Posted by: scootmandubious | November 22, 2005 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Santorum has also claimed that single mothers on welfare (single mothers are the majority of people on welfare) don't really need child care, but rather that is a phony need dreamt up by "liberals in Washington" who need to find something to spend more public funds on more programs. I guess that's why the Senate voted 78-20 last year to increase child care funding.

Then, this year, Santorum complained that he has a hard time scraping by raising 7 kids and supporting his wife and himself on $160,000 a year. He said he has to borrow money from his parents.

I'll just leave this one to the facts, you all can draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | November 22, 2005 5:51 PM | Report abuse

here's the link about Santorum shills funding:

Posted by: RCD | November 22, 2005 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RCD | November 22, 2005 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Um, your mission as journalist, if you choose to accept it, is to find out who is funding AJS. THEN, you'll have some news to print. Otherwise, it's just yada-yada to fill space.

Posted by: freedc | November 22, 2005 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Reading both this and the preceding blog about the Montana race, both parties have ignited one of my pet peeves - the appeal to "working families." Just what the heck is a "working family," anyway? One where Ma and Pa and the kids all go to work? I thought there were child-labor laws! And what about us single types, who make up almost half the population? Are we second-class citizens as far as the DNC and RNC are concerned? Every time some mealy-mouth candidate blathers about "working families," he/she gives voters with working brains one more reason to look favorably at his/her opponent.

Posted by: my4cents | November 22, 2005 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I heard Rick Santorum plainly say over NPR "you know people say the government shouldn't intrude on the bedroom, and thoughts like that... I'm not so sure..."

If you want Rick Santorum peeking into your bedroom you'll vote for him...and those who support him and endorse him.

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | November 22, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

When I turn to the Post im Looking for more depth, who's funding this? Forget about it-- I'll find out my self.
Oh, and Abel forget about the 'strip the party label' nonsense and baiting dems into the bestiality and sodomy debate.

We're not bitin' Abel-orum. Your comment that the "fact that an outside group is pouring some major dollars into the first pro-incumbent ads is news" is baloney unless you just fell off a turnip truck.

Your lame attempt to Positon Santorum as Benedict XVI's guy in the race is transparent.

There will be no uncoupling Santorum from any thing other than serious debate and his Senate seat in 2006.

Posted by: RCD | November 22, 2005 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I guess I'm suprised at some of the comments here that seem to range from juvenile to just plain strange.

This isn't giving "free air time" to Republicans, Chris is simply reporting on what is currently the most closely watched Senate race in 2006. The fact that an outside group is pouring some major dollars into the first pro-incumbent ads is news.

Whether or not it will work remains to be seen. My guess is that Santorum is toast, but it has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Republican in a state that leans Democratic. He has repeatedly made a fool out of himself with his strange and often offensive views. Basically, strip the party label and it comes down to the people of Pennsylvania contemplating another six years of their Junior Senator talking about bestiality. In making himself a lightening rod for "culture wars," Santorum has committed the unpardonable sin that will bring down any incumbent--he has neglected his constituents while pursuing his own political goals. That always fails.

Posted by: Abel H | November 22, 2005 9:28 AM | Report abuse

good grief, another shill. give the citizens of Pennsylvania some credit for having brains. We Know RickSantorum and his dirty tricks Great moment for Santorum, on BBC America. His book has placement in a gay book shop on the comedy show, Little Britain. It's a quick shot, but typical Brit humour.

Posted by: Dorothy Grimes | November 22, 2005 8:37 AM | Report abuse

the more i think about (and i do *not* want to sound gratuituitous here...) the more i am convinced that rick santorum must have a really really small penis.

Posted by: jay lassiter | November 22, 2005 7:28 AM | Report abuse

It just goes to show you how much trouble Santurd'n is in. He is not worthy of the title. He won by dishonest, hypocritical methods. If I were a running a counter ad, I would put Michael Schiavo on and tell people that Rick Santorum interfered with the a matter between him and his wife andhis religion. and that its time to send a message to Congress to stay out of peoples lives in matters that belong between spouses and their god.

Posted by: db | November 21, 2005 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Way to give the Republicans more free advertising Chris.

Posted by: J. Crozier | November 21, 2005 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it a little odd that the ad didn't even have one shot of Santorum?

Posted by: PoliSciZac | November 21, 2005 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This is just more of the same old lies. Do not believe it if you have any sense at all.

Posted by: Bonnie Provence Shiro, Idabel, Ok | November 21, 2005 4:55 PM | Report abuse

How much did the AJS pay you for this ad placement, Chris? You continue to embarrass the WaPo with your blatantly fraudulent ways.

On a completely NON-fraudulent note: Hey Rob from Ithaca, hang in there bud! Ithaca is one of my all-time fav little towns. When we get the house/senate and potus back I-town is going to be THE hotbed for agricultural development of renewable energy and alternative fuels. Well, it already IS that, but it will be even more so I guess. :)

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | November 21, 2005 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I hadn't realized just how much I owe to Rick Santorum and the GOP tax cuts.
Here I thought all the laid off teachers I know lost their jobs because of the tax cuts.
Oh right, that's why that little girl has all that time to play in the leaves, her teachers are no longer there to hold classes.

Robert Chapman
Ithaca, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | November 21, 2005 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Purple state? How much did AJS spend in 2004? My guess is that Pa. is about as purple these days as the sky is red.

Posted by: AAB | November 21, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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