Koch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp

A group associated with billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch is launching a six-figure ad buy attacking North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (D) for voting against the Republican tax overhaul.

The fiscally conservative group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is putting about $450,000 behind the ad, which will begin running statewide through television and digital outlets beginning Wednesday.

“Heidi Heitkamp went to Washington and she promised to look out for us,” the ad’s narrator states.

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“Instead, Heidi took hundreds of thousands from well-connected special interests, then gave special interests hundreds of thousands in handouts. Caribbean Rum distillers, Hollywood filmmakers, racehorse owners — they all cashed in. But when Heidi had the chance to help us with real tax cuts, she turned her back, voted no. Heidi Heitkamp — handouts for special interests, higher taxes for us.”

Heitkamp is one of 10 Senate Democrats seeking reelection this year in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE carried in 2016. Trump took 63 percent of the vote in North Dakota, against only 27 percent for Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE.

The Democratic senator is expected to face Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerRepublicans prepare to punt on next COVID-19 relief bill GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police Trump tweets spark fresh headache for Republicans MORE (R-N.D.) in the general election. There is very little polling of the race, but a February survey from Gravis Marketing found Heitkamp ahead by 3 points, 43 to 40 percent.

AFP recently launched an initiative called American Pay Raise in the 10 states with Democratic senators facing tough reelection bids. It includes a six-figure digital ad buy thanking lawmakers who supported the GOP tax bill that Trump signed into law in December.

No Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the tax law.

The AFP ad buys are part of a broad offensive by the Koch network to sell the GOP tax law — and to attack the red-state Democrats who voted against it.

The tax bill was enormously unpopular at the time of its passage but recent polls show voters have warmed to the law since it went into effect.

The Koch Network has committed up to $20 million in advertising for the tax law. Since February, AFP has spent nearly $8 million in ads going after Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (Ind.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (Mo.), two Democrats who also are seeking reelection in states won by Trump.

The Koch Network will spend up to $400 million this cycle on politics and policy.

Allied groups have already put $1.6 million behind ads in Wisconsin attacking Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden launches program to turn out LGBTQ vote We need a ‘9-1-1’ for mental health — we need ‘9-8-8’ Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump’s power under Insurrection Act MORE (D-Wis.) for her handling of a prescription drugs scandal at a local Veterans Affairs center.

On the policy front, the network is urging the White House to get behind a Democratic proposal to extend protections to those covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and is urging Congress to pass a bill allowing terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs. Prison reform and reducing recidivism rates among former prisoners is another top Koch priority.

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