Sunday, August 17, 2008

DCCC on Offensive in GOP Open Seats

By Nathan L. Gonzales

Despite having a majority of seats in Congress, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is on the offensive this cycle, with plans to pour money into dozens of districts represented by Republicans.

On Thursday, the DCCC dropped two more direct-mail pieces in a pair of GOP-held open seats.

In New Jersey’s 7th district, the latest mail piece has a graphic of a confidential file folder labeled “Leonard Lance’s 17-year record in Trenton,” with the flip side pointing out the Republican state Senator’s “Record of Campaign Cash, Pay Raises, and Special Favors for Big Oil and Insurance Companies.”

This is the DCCC’s second mailbox attack in the last five days against Lance, the GOP nominee in the race to replace retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.). An Aug. 9 direct -ail hit sounded the same themes, highlighting “Leonard Lance’s Trenton Values.” The front of the piece read, “For State Senator Leonard Lance? A 40% Pay Raise. For You? Higher Property Taxes.”

In total, the independent expenditure arm of the DCCC spent $26,221, paid to American Mail Direct Inc., on the two pieces. Neither piece mentioned the Democratic nominee, state Assemblywoman Linda Stender, or even mentioned that Lance is a Republican.

The DCCC also spent $41,117 in direct mail over the last five days in Illinois’s 11th district, where state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D) is facing off against concrete contractor Marty Ozinga (R) for retiring Rep. Jerry Weller’s (R) seat.

“Which candidate for Congress is going to bat for us?” asks the direct-mail piece that was dropped Thursday. “Debbie Halvorson always steps up to the plate for middle-class families.” In contrast, “Marty Ozinga plays ball in the ‘Bush League.’”

Last week’s DCCC-funded mail piece featured a large picture of an ambulance on the front and asked, “Which candidate for Congress thinks a trip to the ER is a solution to our health care crisis? ... Marty Ozinga thinks a trip to the ER means you have health care,” while “Debbie Halvorson is leading the fight for affordable health care in Illinois.” Both pieces were produced by MSHC Partners.

The DCCC also spent $2,142 on phone banking (paid to the Clinton Group) and extended its television ad buy by $39,288 in the 11th district. The committee also spent $43,845 extending its media buy in Texas' 22nd, where it is defending Rep. Nick Lampson (D).

This item first appeared on on August 14, 2008. 2008 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.