American Crossroads — the political money group backed by Karl Rove — has chosen to get behind the Republican in the tightening three-way race to fill the New York Congressional seat vacated by the humiliated Rep. Chris Lee (R).
And in keeping with American Crossroads’ m.o., the group is backing Republican nominee Jane Corwin in a big, big way. The group has purchased $350,000 in television ad time this week on Corwin’s behalf in the western New York district. A second run has been reserved as well. The first seven-day round of ads, which will be released publicly on Tuesday night, will begin running Wednesday. Election day is May 24.
Crossroads says it hopes the blanket of spots will help set things right in the Republican district, which appears in danger of falling into Democratic hands thanks to perennial candidate (and former Democrat) Jack Davis, who is this time running on the Tea Party platform.
“This race has become artificially competitive because liberal Democrat Jack Davis is now trying to pass himself off as a conservative while the other liberal Democrat, Katie Hochul, is benefiting from his trick,” Jonathan Collegio, American Crossroads spokesperson, said in a statement. “This ad buy seeks to expose the Democrat trick for what it is.”
A poll released by DailyKos on Monday showed Davis splitting support with Corwin, a Republican member of the state House, leaving room for Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul, the Erie County Clerk, to pick up the surprise upset.
Democrats were not expected to win the seat, despite Lee’s embarrassing exit from Congress earlier this year. But there are signs the poll numbers and Davis’ candidacy are causing the party to get involved. On Tuesday morning, Politico reported national Democrats have “funneled nearly $100,000” to Hochul in the last month, picking up the tab for “research, communications and political support.”
Ed Note: This post has been corrected from an earlier version that identified American Crossroads as an anonymous political money group. American Crossroads does disclose its donors. Its sister organization Crossroads GPS does not.
House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC that can raise unlimited sums but must disclose its donors to the government won’t say whether it will drop any money on NY-26 on behalf of Hochul, but said it’s “closely monitoring” the race.
A spokesperson said the American Crossroads ad buy was a sign that Republicans are getting nervous in what should have been an easy win. The spokesperson said that the House GOP’s legislative agenda was responsible for the tight poll numbers.
“John Boehner, Karl Rove, and the Right Wing are now in full-blown panic mode in what should have been a safe Republican seat,” House Majority PAC’s Ryan Rudominer said in a statement. “House Republicans’ budget that would kill Medicare and protect tax breaks for millionaires is about as popular as a root canal even in the most Republican districts as this.”