A Democratic group with close ties to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to spend more than $1 million on ads set to begin airing this week aimed at bolstering a handful of vulnerable House Democrats as the impeachment probe unfolds.
The ads from House Majority Forward, examples of which were reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention the word “impeachment.” Instead, they focus solely on the accomplishments of the 11 individual lawmakers targeted in the campaign.
“For Antonio Delgado, serving in Congress is all about serving country and community — not fighting on Twitter or shouting on cable news,” says one ad set to run in the Albany market, touting prescription drug, ethics and agriculture bills that passed the House with the support of the Upstate New York freshman.
“Forget the noise — Haley Stevens is focused on Michigan, and getting the job done,” says an ad running in the Detroit area, highlighting another freshman’s work on manufacturing, pensions and — yes — prescription drugs.
The campaign represents the first tranche of television ads to be aired by a group with close ties to the party establishment. House Majority Forward is an affiliate of House Majority PAC, the largest Democratic super PAC focused solely on House races. The focus on non-impeachment issues is further evidence that Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders are aiming to sell a “walk and chew gum” image for the party — that they can investigate and possibly impeach President Trump while also working to make progress on jobs, health care and other concerns.
“Americans deserve to know about the progressive legislative accomplishments of these representatives, who are fighting for the kitchen table issues that matter most in their districts — lowering the cost of prescription drugs, protecting people with preexisting conditions, and taking care of our veterans,” said Abby Curran Horrell, the group’s executive director.
As a 501 (c) (4) nonprofit, House Majority Forward can raise unlimited money and is not required to disclose its donors, but it cannot directly advocate voting for or against a particular candidate. It can, however, conduct informational campaigns that highlight candidates’ records to voters.
Other Democrats included in the campaign are Reps. Cindy Axne (Iowa), Angie Craig (Minn.), Matthew Cartwright (Pa.), Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Susie Lee (Nev.), Elaine Luria (Va.), Chris Pappas (N.H.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.) and Abigail Spanberger (Va.). All except Cartwright are freshmen.
The ads come amid considerable Democratic anxiety about the political fallout from Pelosi’s decision last month to back a formal impeachment probe. Multiple lawmakers have privately pressed her to provide backup from party organs to combat Republican attacks — particularly in the 31 House districts held by Democrats where Trump won in 2016.
The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign quickly announced a combined $10 million television and digital spending effort. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the main GOP super PAC focused on House races, has also launched a major impeachment-focused campaign.
A super PAC funded mainly by billionaire presidential candidate Tom Steyer separately announced a $3.1 million ad campaign last week targeting vulnerable Senate Republicans. That campaign addresses impeachment head on, asking “Who would bargain away the security of our nation and our elections for his own political gain? . . . Will our senator?”