Chamber of Commerce ads back mainstream Republicans
April 29th, 2014
02:45 PM ET
6 months ago

Chamber of Commerce ads back mainstream Republicans

Washington (CNN) - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says it's launching six new television commercials this week in five states.

The ad buy, which the pro-business organization describes as "massive," is the latest volley by the group, which is one of the biggest spenders among the outside groups so far this midterm election cycle

The six  spots - running in five states - brings to nearly 20 the number of commercials the Chamber has put up in the 2014 cycle. The ads tend to support the more mainstream or establishment Republican candidates running in GOP Senate or House primaries against candidates backed by tea party or grassroots conservative groups.

Since the birth of the tea party movement in 2009, primary challenges from the right have produced major headlines and headaches for Republicans and hurt their chances of winning back the Senate from the Democrats in the past two election cycles. Candidates backed by the tea party movement and other grassroots conservatives effectively cost the GOP five winnable Senate elections the last two cycles in Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Indiana and Missouri.

The GOP hopes to avoid a replay of what happened in 2010 and 2012, and outside groups, like the Chamber and American Crossroads (co-founded and steered by Karl Rove) are lending a hand.

"We will aggressively support those candidates who plan to campaign on a free enterprise and growth agenda, have the courage to govern and the ability to win," said U.S. Chamber of Commerce national political director Rob Engstrom.

Key races to watch in 2014

Republicans need to win back six Democratic-held Senate seats to gain a majority in the upper chamber. The Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats in red or purple states.

One of those states is North Carolina, where Republicans think they have a good shot at unseating first term Sen. Kay Hagan. One of the six commercials the Chamber's launching attacks Hagan, saying "Washington Kay Hagan. Wrong for North Carolina."

The spot supports North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, the establishment candidate in next Tuesday's GOP Senate primary. The commercial describes Tillis as "a bold conservative who balanced our budget and reduced regulations. A businessman who delivered tax relief."

Tillis also has the backing of Crossroads, which says it's spent $1.6 million to support the candidate. And Tuesday Republican Gov. Pat McCrory endorsed Tillis, who is facing off against Greg Brannon, a first time candidate who's backed by many conservative and tea party organizations, and by Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. The two other major candidates in the race are minister Mark Harris, who enjoys the support of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and Heather Grant.

Tillis, who is hoping to avoid a runoff, is touted by the Chamber as the only candidate capable of beating Hagan in November's general election.

The group's also going up with a new ad in Georgia, where primary day is just three weeks away. The spot backs Rep. Jack Kingston, who it highlights as a "conservative fighter."

Kingston is battling fellow Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, who are considered the more conservative candidates, as well as former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, and businessman David Perdue, who's considered the frontrunner, in the contentious primary.

The winner will most likely face off against Michelle Nunn, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

CNN special coverage of the 2014 midterm elections

The Chamber is also going up with a new commercial in the Senate race in Alaska, where it's backing former state attorney general Dan Sullivan, in his fight for the GOP nomination against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and conservative Joe Miller, the 2010 Senate nominee. The winner will face off in November against first term Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, who faces a challenging re-election.

The Chamber's also putting up money to run spots supporting the Republican Senate challengers in Michigan and Montana, two more states where the GOP thinks it has good shots of winning back seats this November. And the group says it will also begin running a commercial in North Carolina's 7th Congressional District, where the Republicans have a strong chance of winning a Democratic-held open House seat.

The new spots are the just the latest example of the Chamber's support of establishment or mainstream Republicans over candidates backed by the conservative grassroots. The group's spent big bucks to support Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, as he fights off a primary challenge in Kentucky from businessman Matt Bevin, who's backed by tea party activists and other conservative groups. And it just went up with an ad staring 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in support of eight-term Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, who faces a serious primary challenge from tea party favorite Bryan Smith.


Filed under: 2014 • Chamber of Commerce • North Carolina • Senate • Senate Race
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER AND THE NEW RNC CHAIRMAN CLIVE BUNDY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

    It doesn't really matter who they back. EVZeRYBODY KNOWS the chamber of commerce is nothing more the a GOP STOOGE political organization!!!!! It might as well be inRUSSIA!!!

    April 29, 2014 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "One of those states is North Carolina, where Republicans think they have a good shot at unseating first term Sen. Kay Hagan. "

    One of those states is North Carolina, where Republicans have been enacting as much voter suppression legislation as possible in an attempt to reduce the turnout of minority, youth and other traditionally Dem voter demographics.

    FIFY

    April 29, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    So what false equivalence narrative are they buying from you with their ad revenue this time, CNN?

    April 29, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom

    Chamber of Commerce, always on the wrong side of history.

    April 29, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER AND THE NEW RNC CHAIRMAN CLIVE BUNDY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS

    A DEAD DEMOCRAT is worth MORE the a LIVE republican in the incompetent GOP house.

    April 29, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. yolanda

    @Sniffit, that legislation in North Carolina does not go into effect until 2016 (if it survives). The backlash from the legislation has actually had the effect of getting more people to register to vote.

    April 29, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Why do Republicans always harp about unions when they have the Chamber of Commerce in apparently every state?
    One Party representing the interests of the workers and the other Party representing the interests of the people that the workers work for...

    April 29, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. NC

    The Chamber of Commerce–nothing but a bunch of good ole boys in suits.

    April 29, 2014 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    That's a good message. A candidate "who will fight Washington." I thought Senators are supposed to go to Washington to enact policies for the good of the country and their constituents. Whatever happened to McCain's "Country First"?

    If a candidate is going to Washington to fight, who or what are they fighting for? Answers can be found in the latest release of the Ryan Plan budget, "Plan For Prosperity". Sounds good, but whose prosperity is Ryan talking about? If you're not a millionaire, who will get a $200,000 tax cut on average, then you're deluding yourself if you think the Ryan Plan helps you.

    April 29, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    -spenders?? Why didn't they cry on Iraq war spending? 30 billion dollars yearly to Pakistan? Tax loots to be given shelters in Trickle-down nonsense? Nonsense. GOP is gone to dogs. Extinct in ten years replaced to populist party.

    April 29, 2014 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "@Sniffit, that legislation in North Carolina does not go into effect until 2016 (if it survives). The backlash from the legislation has actually had the effect of getting more people to register to vote."

    Here's a whole slew of legislation and rules/procedure changes, not just one.

    April 29, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Whatever happened to McCain's "Country First"?

    It didn't win him the election, soooooo they decided to try the opposite.

    April 29, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. rs

    This is sort of significant point in the GOP civil war. IF groups like the American Chamber of Commerce actually begin to back Republican candidates who stick to bread and butter issues: jobs, the economy, helping small business, etc,.. this could significantly improve the brand and undercut the TEA Party's frankly more insane infatuation with the culture wars issues.
    It might be a long shot, but the GOP will simply have to admit a party that embraces the likes of Mr. Bundy isn't going to track well at the national level, probably for a long, long time.

    April 29, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. tom l

    Gosh, @Rudy has hurt my feelings. My "rants" are delusional and i am hateful. Well, Sir Rudy, for someone who champions himself as being open minded and above personal attacks you should check yourself out in a mirror. Again, it seems that you thrive on slamming anyone whose opinions are different from yours. I was under the (obviously mistaken) impression that tolerance worked both ways.
    The wrecking of the economy has been a bipartisan effort. You can sling mud back and forth until the cows come home, but in truth both parties are to blame. Your unending chirping grows old.
    =========

    Well said. I guess I'm a hater, very close minded and I'm delusional, as well. At least I'm in good company ;)

    April 29, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Another example of Southern paternalism at work. The machines may have changed parties, but they are still doing the same thing: dispensing favors from state-run machines, funded by corporate money that expects no regulations to impede their mission of making money for themselves. Welcome to the modern conservative plantation: who says the Right does not believe in recycling?

    April 29, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Whatever happened to McCain's "Country First"?
    -------------------------------------------------
    They opted to go with "One Term President".
    Less work, more catchy...

    April 29, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Ron L

    Unfortunately the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ONLY cares about OWNERS and making sure the status-quo is not disturbed. This is why they ALWAYS support trade agreements, keeping the minimum wage as is and frankly anything that will help the wealthy in America. This is EXTREMELY short sighted and if the current trend continues 18% of America will be middle class, 2% will be rich, and 80% will be either lower middle class (struggling to survive) or poor. This is unsustainable, because as the tax revenues dwindle because wages are so small, our society will grow older and more dependent on the safety nets because they will have not been able to save ANYTHING!! There needs to be tax reform, and a raising of the minimum wage. Companies and CEO's need to share some of this wealth now or we will ALL lose in the end.

    April 29, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Whatever happened to McCain's "Country First"?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oh, THAT was only if McCain had won, but since he didn't it became "To Hell With The Country" behind closed doors, of course.

    April 29, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    repub/tea bags are the majority in the House and have enough votes in the Senate to filibuster everything (which they've been doing).

    The way to make Washington function again for the benefit of the majority of Americans is simple: Elect Democrats and send all the repub/tea bags packing.

    April 29, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    "Whatever happened to McCain's "Country First"?"

    McCain never put the country first during his presidential run. If he had he would have abandoned the failed gop policies and NEVER agree to have the Screacher Creature from Alaska on the ticket.

    April 29, 2014 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    rs
    IF groups like the American Chamber of Commerce actually begin to back Republican candidates who stick to bread and butter issues: jobs, the economy, helping small business, etc,.. this could significantly improve the brand and undercut the TEA Party's frankly more insane infatuation with the culture wars issues
    -------------------------------------------------
    Okay,let's say the Chamber of Commerce actually and consistenlty backs what I call old-school Republicans, can they mount an effective and aggressive campaign especially when faced with the monies that the Teatard candidate will have at their disposal rs?
    Who will the electorate that they are targeting vote for: the person who holds their interests or the Tea Party candidate that will be fed often and consistently via tv, radio, and print ads?
    I don't know rs. I don't know if the Chamber of Commerce can bring the Party of LIncoln back from the abyss they've fallen into.

    April 29, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    The Chamber of Commerce represents businesses, and consistently promotes Republicans. It's called greed. That is who and what conserative politicians are al about. Conservative voters seem to be totally oblivious to this fact. They actually think that Republicans get into office and act in the best interests of tehir constituents. Wrong. They act almost exclusively in the best interests of their campaign donors, whose interests rarely coincide with those of average Americans.

    How come the Keystone XL pipeline isn't a textbook example of government overreach? Conservatives want the government to step in and take land away from ordinary Americans and give it to a foreign corporation.

    April 29, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    There is no such thing as a mainstream republican. You're either cookoo or you're not. I hope the cookoos destroy their primary opponents. All that "Country First" crap was a bunch of hogwash. I'm supporting the sovereign citizen candidates who have hijacked the republican party.

    April 29, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. tom l

    "Take time to understand what they're saying and maybe you won't think these people are evil. Again, they are not anarchists. "

    Newsflash: This goes for the RNC and all the "outreach" nonsense as well...WE UNDERSTAND THE MESSAGE, WE JUST DISAGREE WITH IT. Get. It. Through. Your. Skulls. The issue is not that we don't understand and have not taken the time to listen or that your message got hidden or missed or diverted on the way to our ears. We hear it...every day, all day. LOUD. AND. CLEAR. We understand it. PERFECTLY. We just DO NOT AGREE WITH IT.
    ========

    Ok Sniffit. If you have heard it then please, thoughtfully and without snark, elaborate on what it is that conservatives believe in. Tell me why they have the positions that they do. I am interested to hear what you perceive their message to be. I, in turn, will do the same for you on the liberal side.

    Liberals want things to be equal. They want everyone to have a chance at success and believe that the best vehicle for doing this is through a strong government that can ensure that everyone has what they consider a "fair" shake. From the liberal perspective, equality is achieved through having mechanisms in place to pull up the ones that are in tough times through government programs that help give them a hand. They feel that there is a great deal of unfairness, inequality and racism in the country today and that the best and most efficient way to rectify that "inequality" is through government action. Liberals believe a strong govt can help all of its citizens and ensure that govt can help to provide life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberals are definitely not bad people and want to do good by their fellow citizens but are quite wary of individuals and their abilities to make things "unfair" (rig the system) so this is where govt can come in and help. Liberals believe that their is a deep rooted history of bigotry and racism that needs to be "righted" and the best way to do that is through a strong, powerful govt that can make up for the ills of the past.

    This is not a perfect definition but I think it gives a broad overview of the mindset of where a liberal is. Feel free to correct things that I said that were either inarticulate or just incorrect.

    April 29, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Silence DoGood

    The New-speak of conservatism and re-branding
    Chamber of Commerce = conservative pro corporate group
    GOP = mildly conservative
    independent = conservative
    libertarian = ultra conservative
    racist deadbeat rancher = conservative hero
    militia = conservative mob

    April 29, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
1 2