WASHINGTON—The National Republican Congressional Committee is hitting Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) hard on Eastern Iowa cable stations with its first Iowa ad of the 2012 election cycle in an effort to link the Democratic incumbent to President Obama, whose popularity in Iowa has steadily decreased.
“With the steep decline in President Obama’s approval ratings in Iowa, Loebsack is practically vulnerable because of his unrelenting support of Obama’s $1 trillion government takeover of health care and $800 billion failed stimulus plan,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the NRCC. “Dave Loebsack and Obama have made our struggling economy even worse with their big-spending agenda that has led to a downgrade in America’s credit rating and record-high unemployment.”
An early August poll by The Tarrance Group, a Republican firm, showed 52 percent of Iowa voters disapproved of President Obama’s performance as president while 43 percent thought he was doing a good job. Independent voters gave a 61-32 percent disapproval rating to President Obama. Aggregated data from Gallup’s daily tracking poll released in early August shows a slightly better position for the president (49 percent approval), although that figure is averaged over surveys extending from January to June. President Obama’s national job approval dropped to 40 percent in the most recent Gallup poll spanning Aug. 8-14, the lowest point of his presidency.
The NRCC’s ad (embedded below) will start Tuesday and run for two weeks on cable stations (it’s an $11,000 ad buy) in the Second District:
ANNOUNCER: There’s a cloud over our economy.
Dave Loebsack government takeover of health care.
Fear and uncertainty prevent new hiring.
Steep fines and new taxes on families and businesses.
Half a trillion dollars – money they can’t use to create jobs.
Experts say Obama-Loebsack will push employers to drop workers’ health insurance.
With Loebsack and Obama…the storm will only get worse.
DISCLAIMER: The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.
Strategists perceive Rep. Loebsack as vulnerable because of his lackluster fundraising totals so far and because Iowa’s redistricting process has changed the landscape of the Second Congressional District. The District, composed of 24 counties, now includes Scott and Clinton counties. Although it’s impossible to turn back the clock, the newly-drawn district would have given President Obama 57 percent of the vote in 2008, compared to 61 percent in the old district, as The Hill newspaper noted.
Of the three incumbent Democrats, including Rep. Bruce Braley and Rep. Leonard Boswell, Loebsack raised the least money, depending mostly on Washington, D.C. political action committees to bring in less than $300,000 so far for the cycle ($149,000 from PACs and only $114,000 from individuals). Rep. Loebsack has about $217,000 left in the bank.
Rep. Loebsack, a partisan back-bencher, votes with Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 90 percent of the time, according to Washington Post figures highlighted by the NRCC. Conservatives are hoping that the addition of Republican-leaning Scott County and Loebsack’s focus on the population centers in Linn and Johnson Counties will provide a chance for GOP challengers to unseat the three-term incumbent.
Several high-profile Republican candidates have announced campaigns:
—John Archer, a Bettendorf-based senior legal counsel at Deere & Co. and Pleasant Valley school board member.
—Dan Dolan, a rurual Muscatine-based home builder with operations across Eastern Iowa.
—Richard Gates, a tea party activist from Keokuk.
Sources also told TheIowaRepublican.com that state Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) and other prominent Republicans in Southeastern Iowa are mulling congressional bids.
Rep. Loebsack’s campaign sent out a fundraising solicitation today in response to the NRCC’s announcement, as noted by the liberal Blog for Iowa:
“We saw last cycle how much money outside groups are willing and able to pour into congressional elections, including mine, to influence their outcomes. Now it’s starting again. It’s sad and disgusting to see negative advertising start so early,” Rep. Loebsack wrote.
The hypocrisy is stunning, as Rep. Loebsack conveniently failed to mention that the so-called “outside groups” spent far less than Washington, D.C.-based Democrats. According to the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks spending by independent groups, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was the biggest spender in the Second District in the 2010 cycle, slamming GOP nominee Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks with about $640,000 worth of negative ads.
Loebsack’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether he would call on the DCCC to refrain from airing TV ads in his race.
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