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. smith

    The GOP will keep the house and the Dems should retain the senate. Right now, both parties look weak and in utter chaos.

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

    "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"

    They can't though. Alienating tha portion of the base would destroy them quicker than their impending Demographic Armageddon.

    April 29, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    Speaking of tea bags and their influence on the gop: A major U.S. newspaper (WP) recently published an investigative story about how little of the money these groups collect actually goes to candidates. The WP reported that out of the $37.5 million spent so far by the six major tea bag PACs, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates (source: Sunlight Foundation campaign finance data).

    Kinda reminds me of the televagelist preachers who scam their flock for money to buy themselves new private jets ... You'd think all these "real" Americans would get tired of be played for fools ...

    April 29, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------Ayuh.

    April 29, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Gunderson

    Whazzat?
    Free Enterprise and Growth Ajenda? We can't have none of that. that mean people have jobs, end Nanny State. Well somebody need keep trains running on time or no more food stamps! Of course that mean get off backside and start producing!! In other words, dirty four letter word work! Too bad all Gunderson's half-witted friends don't understand work. You learn soon!

    April 29, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    tom l posted

    Well said. I guess I'm a hater, very close minded and I'm delusional, as well. At least I'm in good company
    -----------------------------–
    Is that another one of your explanations of what it means to be a conservative? Still waiting. All that we ever hear from you is one attack after another, most of which are personal. Excuse me for pushing back. I'm still taking notes on what your definition of a conservative. So far, you've been painting a pretty clear picture of it from day one. Didn't you know?

    BTW, don't confuse yourself and think my descriptions of conservatives apply to you, or another conservative voter. Don't delude yourself into thinking that I'm trying to read your mind, tom. I'm always talking about the politiciians, their policies and their voting records. Your personal priorities are totally irrelevant to me .. and Republican politicians.

    April 29, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    No, not delusional, Tom: just naive, and completely ideologically-driven, but well-meaning. Its a pity your self-declared open-minded attitudes get lost when you are trying to defend yourself, and when you accuse other people of things they have not said or done. It makes people question your sincerity when your own lack of tolerance drives you to make sweeping condemnations of the kind you claim you abhor. Aside from that, you're fine.

    April 29, 2014 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    hmmmm, whazzatt?

    Gundy babble on about trains running on time, running to your Nanny, but he still don't know anything about work. Conservatives are biggest parasites: they expect everything to be free and top quality, yet don't want to pay for it. Expect someone else to do the work for them. Well, when Gundy learn to spell he can thank a Union Teacher. Everything Gundy use, from internet to highways and everything else has had government hand in it. Maybe Gundy like 19th century, but rest of us want to move forward.

    April 29, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. 2_indy1600

    Sterling example of racism at work with Sterling...imagine! A racist democrat running a plantation right under our noses. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce in every city should be checking sports teams for more of the same.
    If either party cared about the people, they would be organizing mass exodus of people living in cities under 300 feet elevation. Or hasn't anybody heard about axis shift with every major quake? 45 new sink holes across the world have convinced me...it's not the CO2, people

    April 29, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Thomas

    What else is new ?

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is Anti Environment , Anti embargo and pro Putin .

    Job's over quality of life . Who needs clean water when it's about finance and markets .

    April 29, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    Yes, because shutting down the government to the tune of $24B is fighting the Washington establishment of which you are a member. So much for the pledge to help the country.
    See how insane these teaklans can be? The koch brothers money at work.
    Maybe what we need to do is get rid of the chamber of commerce in every state. Let them fight for real jobs and not political quackery.

    April 29, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I guess I'm a hater, very close minded and I'm delusional, as well. At least I'm in good company
    -------------------------------------------------
    You're not a hater. I seldom see you agreeing with any efforts from this administration, but you have in the past, so you're not a hater.
    You're also quite open to dialogue.
    I don't think you're nuts either just intense. And in that intensity you get caught up and wrapped up in emotions and make all-encompassing statements.
    I've come to understand you better tom l.
    I won't debate you but I will hold a discussion with you...once in a while..wink! We've come a long way.
    Don't beat yourself up, and don't get so caught up in this bull$# it.
    You're right: they are pitting us against each other; stop being a pawn to that.
    Above all: don't take it so personally and rollback the accusatory statements a bit.
    You'll be alright tom l.
    Hopefully we all will.

    April 29, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. rla

    Sure they want a do nothing RINZo to let them continue hiring all those illegals under the table

    April 29, 2014 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "Sterling example of racism at work with Sterling...imagine! A racist democrat running a plantation right under our noses. "

    Man, you guys are just too proud of being dupes of the GOP/Teatroll propaganda machine. STERLING IS A REGISTERED REPUBLICAN. Oh...did Faux and Limbaugh and Breitbart and Daily Caller all forget to mention that little detail while they focused on campaign donations made well over a decade ago? Wipe your chins...the lies you've been eating are dribbling out the corners of your mouths.

    April 29, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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