The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting sophomore Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) with its first independent expenditure ad. The ad tries to expose “the real Joe Donnelly” as a Congressman who supports the Democratic agenda and has ties to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), not as the independent lawmaker he’s portrayed as in his own ads.
“In fact, Joe’s taken $130,000 from Democratic leaders, over $30,000 from Nancy Pelosi alone, and now Joe Donnelly wants us to believe he’s independent?” the narrator concludes.
The ad started airing Monday in the South Bend, Ind., market and will run there for a week, according to NRCC spokesman Tom Erickson. The 30-second spot also mentions Donnelly’s votes for health care reform, the financial bailout and the stimulus.
Donnelly is in a tough race against state Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). This is far from the first ad in the district. Donnelly made waves last month when he aired an ad that tied Democratic leaders to the problems in Washington, D.C., and the Blue Dog has used his ads to paint himself as an independent. His current ad attacks Walorski for her support of the fair tax, which would replace federal income taxes with a national sales tax.
“Joe Donnelly’s independence is reflected by his pro-life, pro-gun, anti-amnesty positions, as well as his opposition to cap-and-trade,” Donnelly campaign manager Mike Schmuhl said Monday in an e-mail. “Moreover, his independence has been documented by Congressional Quarterly and The National Journal, two well-respected and impartial Congress-focused publications. State Rep. Walorski, however, has touted that she has never claimed to be independent of her party and her support for privatizing Social Security and free trade policies that would send more American jobs overseas bear that out.”
Walorski released a biographical ad last week, and Americans for Prosperity also aired an ad on her behalf in August.
Donnelly was first elected in 2006, defeating then-Rep. Chris Chocola, who now serves as president of the anti-tax Club for Growth, with 54 percent of the vote. In 2008, he was re-elected easily. As a Blue Dog Democrat, he has cultivated a centrist record in the House.