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National GOP Group Gives Pro-McDonnell PAC $2.5 Million

Anita Kumar

We told you yesterday that a Republican PAC, Virginia Common Sense, was starting to air TV ads for Bob McDonnell this week.

Now we know how it's paying for the ads:

The Republican Governors Association has just reported giving $2.5-million to Virginia Common Sense, the RGA's political action committee, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign money in the state.

McDonnell and the RGA were critical of the Democratic Governors Associaton's PAC, Common Sense Virginia, which spent nearly $3 million on ads opposing McDonnell during the Democratic primary. McDonnell's spokesman said at the time that those Democratic ads were funded by "out of state special interests who have no real interest in the future of Virginia's workers."

So what's the difference?

"National Democrats have already put over $3 million into attacking Bob McDonnell in this election,'' said Tucker Martin, a McDonnell spokesman. "Now it appears that national Republicans will be helping Virginians to get to know Creigh Deeds' real record. Seems like it's only fair."

RGA spokesman Mike Schrimp said his group is being transparent when they say they are supporting McDonnell and opposing Deeds while the DGA PAC "tried to hide from what they were really doing" by claiming it was formed "to encourage a public discussion about the important issues the commonwealth faces and our next governor will confront."

"Either Bob McDonnell's campaign approves of these groups or they don't - but they can't have it both ways,'' said Emily DeRose, a DGA spokeswoman. "Regardless of how his position shifts, McDonnell shouldn't hide behind this group to do his dirty work, especially when he's worked with them and taken millions from them already."

Word is the ads -- which will be on TV and radio -- will criticize Democrat Creigh Deeds for voting to increase government spending during his long tenure in the General Assembly.

Joe Abbey, Deeds' campaign manager, wasted no time in using the RGA's ads, which won't even start until later this week, to raise money.

"These people are launching malicious attacks on Creigh Deeds that are coming to a TV near you,'' Abbey wrote in an email to supporters. "We urgently need your help so that we can fight back right away."

By Anita Kumar  |  August 25, 2009; 5:33 PM ET
Categories:  2009 Governor's Race , Anita Kumar , Election 2009 , Robert F. McDonnell  
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