Americans for Progressive Action confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday that it was making a significant ad buy to support Gabriel Gomez, GOP candidate for the special Senate election this month. The buy amounts to around $700,000, equaling the amount the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee has pumped into the race to prop-up Democrat Rep. Ed Markey. The buy also signals that, with two weeks to go, this is a competitive race with national implications.
The Hill’s reporter, Alexandra Jaffe tries to label the group as right-wing by noting that its Treasurer, Nancy Watkins, served the same function on the Michele Bachmann campaign for President. It is a blatant attempt to tie the surging Gomez to a conservative lightning-rod who likely polls badly in deep-blue Massachusetts.
What Jaffe doesn’t report is that Watkins, is one of the most respected Republican campaign finance experts. She serves this function for dozens of Republican candidates and organizations. Tying her to Bachmann’s Presidential campaign is literally just pulling one of her clients out of a hat. Jaffe could just have easily reported that Watkins was also Treasurer for some back-bench moderate Republican Congressman.
The tell here for Jaffe, however, is that as soon as she makes the link to Bachmann, she reports a ready-made quote from DSCC Executive Director Mike Canter, using the connection to slam Gomez. I wonder what wrapping paper the DSCC used to gift Jaffe their version of the story.
Leaving Jaffe and her sources aside, the move by the outside group is further confirmation that the Democrats are facing the prospect of another Scott Brown-like debacle in the Bay State. Markey, who entered Congress during the Nixon Administration, is clearly struggling in his race against newcomer Gomez, a former Navy Seal and successful businessman.
Numerous national Democrats have campaigned for Markey and various outside liberal groups have attacked Gomez relentlessly. Yet, he is well-positioned to pull off an upset in the election on June 25th. The ad buy by a conservative outside group indicates that the cavalry is on the way.