Swing State Confidential: Colorado–American Action Network, Club for Growth & More


Denver, CO…This morning’s news broadcast on channel 7, ABC news, here in Denver began with the announcer reporting that Michelle Obama is in town for a lunch time fundraiser for Sen. Michael Bennet.

Over the course of the 35 minutes that I watched, eight of the 14 political ads concerning federal races that aired concerned his race to keep his seat in November. Of those eight, half were hits on his campaign by outside groups and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC); three were hits on his opponent, Ken Buck, by outside groups and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and one was a campaign ad from the Bennet campaign. The Colorado Senate race currently leads the nation in attracting spending from outside groups, according to Sunlight’s Follow the Unlimited Money tracker.

Also of note: as reported earlier this week by the Wall Street Journal, the American Action Network, run by operative Fred Malek and former GOP Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman has lept into the fray in Colorado’s seventh district, where Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter is defending his seat against GOP challenger Cory Gardner.

I watched all these ads as part of my ongoing morning television diary where I’m following the money on political ads aired in Colorado and entering them on our Sunlight CAM.  See previous entries here.

8:28 a.m. The NRSC takes a hit on Sen. Michael Bennet’s “reckless” spending, charging that he voted for the “failed” stimulus and billions in hand outs to special interests. “He spends, we pay.” The NRSC has reported spending $1.6 million against Bennet to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Sunlight CAM link here.

Next up: the American Action Network blasts Rep. Ed Perlmutter on health care. The ad begins with a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then claims that the health care bill cost too much, slashed Medicare, and gave health care to illegals. “In November, call Perlmutter and tell him to vote for repeal.”  American Action Network has just started advertising in this race (see above); as of this writing, the group has not yet reported spending in Colorado. Sunlight CAM link here.

8:39 a.m. A female narrator says incumbent Democrat Rep. Betsy Markey has put “Nancy Pelosi ahead of us 94 percent of the time” and she picks “politics over people.” “I’m Cory Gardner and I approve this message.” Find Gardner ads on Sunlight CAM here.

The NEA Advocacy Fund attacks Senate candidate Ken Buck on his education “math.” “His plan for our schools doesn’t add up.” Saw this ad yesterday; it’s new this week. The NEA Advocacy Fund (which I wrote about here) has reported spending $1.35 million on the race. Sunlight CAM link here.

8:40 a.m. The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) has been running this ad against Markey a lot. Markey voted for health care, is a reckless spender, follows the Pelosi agenda. “Put the brakes on Betsy Markey.” The NRCC has reported spending $433,000 opposing her so far. Markey ads on Sunlight CAM here.

Club for Growth Action accuses Bennet of being a Washington insider with this ad. “After 18 months in Washington, he acts like he’s been there forever.” He voted for government health care, to bail out the car companies. He’s already been in Washington “too long.” The group has reported spending $581,000 against Bennet so far and $31,000 in favor of Buck. Club for Growth Action has filed paperwork with the FEC to be an “indendent expenditure only” committee that can take unlimited contributions from corporations and unions. The group reported collecting $1.2 million during the month of August; among the larger contributions were $100,000 apiece from Illinois businessmen Jerry Hayden, former chairman of Peacock Engineering, and Richard Uihlein head of Uline Inc., a packaging company. (His wife pens this message urging website viewers to vote this November, commenting on “expensive government programs” and noting the couple likes to watch Fox news.)

8:48 a.m. The American Action Network ad hitting Perlmutter on health care, again.

8:53 a.m. Bennet’s ad saying special interests like big oil and insurance companies want to buy Colorado, but he is not for sale.This one has been airing a lot.

Public Campaign Action Fund’s Campaign Money Watch ad saying Buck is bad on ethics. I reported on this ad here. The campaign finance reform group’s reported spending is up to $771,000 as of today, and increase from the $730,000 reported yesterday. Buck ads on Sunlight CAM here.

American Crossroads’ ad accusing Bennet of taking a “Wall Street gamble” with Denver schools when he was superintendent. I’ve seen this one before. The group now reports spending $3.4 million against Bennet.

An ad from Markey’s campaign claiming that “career politician” Gardner wants a wind tax. “It’s true, Gardner’s bill called for taxing the wind that blows across Coloradans private property.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) blasts Buck with an ad on the same theme as Public Campaign’s piece: ethics and the gun dealer. The party committee has reported spending $5.3 million to date opposing Buck.

8:58 a.m. American Action Network hitting Perlmutter on health care, yet again. (That’s three times in the last half hour.)

The NRSC going after Bennet on “reckless” spending, again.

I’ll be taking a break from my Colorado TV diary for some travel. Tune in later next week, when I return to my political ad viewing. Next up: CNN.