The Ending Spending Action Fund, a political action committee that had been expected to spend up to $1.3 million on ads targeting Democratic Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn, is apparently going to go after Republican Phil Gingrey as well. Daniel Malloy at the Political Insider has some details, along with a preview of the negative ad.
Why would a nominally Republican-leaning PAC go after Gingrey? One of the major themes of the campaign has been the risk of losing a Republican Senate seat if a too-controversial candidate ended up being nominated. One of those usually named as too controversial is Paul Broun, and the other is Phil Gingrey. Each has made Todd Aken like statements that could be used by a Democratic opponent to win the support of moderates in the general election.
If Broun or Gingrey were to win a runoff slot against one of the other candidates, one could assume that the other candidate remaining in the runoff would receive a lot of support, and most of the votes from those that supported one of the losers in the May first round. But, what if the runoff ended up being between Broun and Gingrey? No matter who would win a runoff between the two, a controversial candidate would be left to face Nunn in November.
Paul Broun is perceived as having a base of supporters that will back him no matter what. Gingrey, on the other hand, is relatively well known in metro Atlanta, having represented much of the area during his terms as U.S. Representative. However, his campaign for the Senate has been fairly quiet, especially after much of his original campaign team left last November. The negative ad against him could be an attempt to define him prior to Gingrey’s own ads debuting in mid-April.
It’s just a theory, but one worth considering.
Meanwhile, Gingrey campaign manager Patrick Sebastian isn’t happy with the day’s turn his events. He issued this statement earlier today:
“This attack on Rep. Gingrey is a clear indication his establishment opponents see he’s on-the-move, and is the most viable conservative in the race.
“The attacks on conservative Republicans like Phil Gingrey from this special interest group are straight out of Barack Obama’s liberal playbook. Georgians will not let these Chicago-style tactics on leaders who have proven records in cutting spending, protecting our military and veterans, and fighting Obamacare stop them from supporting conservative Republicans like Phil Gingrey.”
Twice named most conservative member of Congress, Phil has fought to reduce the debt, cut the deficit, cap spending, balance the budget, and — throughout his time in D.C. — has returned more than $1.4 million of his personal office’s funds to the U.S. Treasury.
“Phil believes members of Congress and their staffs should have to live under the laws they create,” Sebastian said. “It’s telling that this shadowy group would be so upset with Phil’s fight to stop Congress’ Obamacare exemptions that they attacked him for using rhetoric he used to garner support for his “No Special Treatment for Congress Act,” which reverses the federal taxpayer health subsidies intended for members of Congress and their staffs.”