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Nation: Upton Raising Money for Vulnerable GOPers

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) knows there’s no “I” in “teamwork,” but there is an “R.”

Upton has launched a series of sports-themed “All Star Team Events” fundraisers for his more vulnerable Republican colleagues. The seven high-dollar fundraisers are scheduled between now and July 24 and are sponsored by Upton’s TRUST Political Action Committee.

The fundraisers, according to the announcement obtained by Roll Call, benefit Republican Reps. Dean Heller (Nev.), Jon Porter (Nev.), Joe Knollenberg (Mich.), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Phil English (Pa.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Vern Buchanan (Fla.) and Ric Keller (Fla.).

The final event of the series, or rather the final game of the season, raises funds for Ohio GOP Reps. Steven LaTourette and Patrick Tiberi and Ohio state Sen. Steve Stivers (R), who is running in the open-seat race in Ohio’s 15th district against Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D). House Minority Leader John Boehner (R) is also billed as the special guest for that fundraiser.

Freedom’s Watch Hits Democrats With Calls

Freedom’s Watch, the conservative issue advocacy group, began placing robocalls into the districts of several Democratic Members of Congress this afternoon, criticizing them for failing to finalize an Iraq War spending package.

“Hello, I’m Cpl. Mathew Hayden; I’m a veteran of Afghanistan,” the call begins. “Congress this week passed resolutions honoring a college basketball team, Arnold Palmer and Frank Sinatra … but went home for Memorial Day without funding our troops. So while Congress is on vacation, funding for the troops is in question. Worse, their paychecks are in jeopardy, too.

“As a veteran, I don’t want to see my buddies hurt because Congress put its vacation ahead of the needs of our soldiers. Call Congressman X, and tell him to honor the troops on Memorial Day by paying them.”

Freedom’s Watch did not disclose the number of calls made, except that the number was “substantial.” The calls were expected to run through the Memorial Day recess.

Targeted by the calls: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Democratic Reps. Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Bob Filner (Calif.), Joe Courtney (Conn.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Melissa Bean (Ill.), Don Cazayoux (La.), Travis Childers (Miss.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.), Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Joe Sestak (Pa.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.), Christopher Carney (Pa.), John Murtha (Pa.) and Nick Lampson (Texas).

DCCC, Interest Group Ads Hit GOP Members

Several Republican House Members returned to their districts over the Memorial Day weekend to find that they were being attacked in ads sponsored by Democrats or their support groups.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running radio ads and robocalls, which are scheduled to last through the week, hitting 11 Republican Members for voting “present” during a recent Iraq War funding vote. The ads begin: “Republicans in Congress have always promised to fund our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. But when it came time to cast a vote to do so, Congressman [Member’s name] did not.”

The ads hit House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.), and Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Thelma Drake (Va.), Tom Feeney (Fla.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) and John Shadegg (Ariz.).

Meanwhile, Americans United for Change, a liberal issue advocacy group, began airing TV ads that blast Feeney, Chabot, Kuhl and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for voting against providing full college scholarships for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

“Supporting our veterans isn’t about politics,” the ads’ narrator says, “it’s about patriotism.”

The ads are scheduled to run on broadcast and cable networks through the end of the week.

— Shira Toeplitz and Josh Kurtz

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