BOISE - A new independent ad against Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick that’s airing in Idaho makes a false claim that Minnick voted in favor of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the federal stimulus bill, when Minnick actually was one of 11 Democrats who voted against the bill in the Jan. 28, 2009 House vote.
SuperPAC of America, headed by GOP political strategist Dick Morris, is airing cookie-cutter versions of its “Voter Guide” ads in numerous states as part of its strategy to target 50 “second-tier” seats that Democrats view as safe, in an effort to fuel a GOP pickup of 100 seats in Congress.
“The more we spend on these ‘safe Democratic seats’ the more we put these incumbents in danger,” Morris writes on the group’s website. “The Democrats will have to tie up incredible amounts of resources to defend these second-tier 50 seats that they once thought were safe. They will not be able to help other Democrats in trouble in the first 50 seats now at risk. In football we would call this strategy ‘prevent offense.’”
The anti-Minnick ad began running in the Boise market yesterday.
The group, which says it’s already raised more than $3 million for its ad push, targets other Democratic incumbents across the country for voting in favor of the health care reform bill and the stimulus bill, then touts their Republican challengers. Minnick, however, voted against both those bills.
The anti-Minnick ad alters the message on health care to criticize Minnick for not backing repeal of the full health-care reform bill - Minnick maintains some parts, such as insurance reforms, are worth keeping - but then falsely claims Minnick voted for the stimulus bill.
RJ Laukitis, executive director of SuperPAC for America, said in an email, “We are looking into this claim.”
Minnick campaign manager John Foster called the ad “outrageous,” and said, “I have already been in touch with our attorneys and with a couple of station managers. We believe the law here is very clear.” Stations have the option of rejecting false ads that come from outside groups, he said.
At least one Idaho TV station, KTVB-TV in Boise, decided to pull the ad today. “It is a non-candidate sponsored commercial, and we just reviewed the facts,” said Doug Armstrong, KTVB general manager. “It appears the commercial is factually incorrect regarding vote #46 on Jan 28th. We’ve decided to pull the commercial effective immediately.”