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NRCC Targets Democrats on Tax Overhaul in New Digital Ads

Republicans see taxes as a potent campaign issue

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolanis one of the Democrats targeted in the latest NRCC ads. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee is launching new digital ads targeting Democrats who voted against the tax overhaul that passed the House on Thursday. No members of the minority party voted for the legislation.

The 15-second videos, provided first to Roll Call, will start running on Facebook on Friday and target 25 House Democrats. The NRCC ad buy was described as “five figures” and the ads will run online for a week.

Matt Cartwright voted to block middle-class tax relief, putting the wishes of Nancy Pelosi ahead of your family budget,” the narrator says in an ad targeting the Pennsylvania Democrat. “The status quo has to go and partisan Democrats are standing in the way. Tell Matt Cartwright: middle-class families deserve a break.”

(President Donald Trump carried Cartwright’s 17th District by 10 points last fall, while the congressman won re-election by 8.)

Republicans believe touting the tax overhaul will be a potent campaign message for the 2018 midterms. And they had cautioned ahead of Thursday’s vote that failing to pass the bill would have doomed their chances of keeping the House majority.

But Democrats also believe they can use the tax bill to attack Republicans who voted for it by highlighting cuts to the corporate tax rate.

“Establishment Republicans voted to give the rich and large corporations huge tax cuts while sticking middle-class families with the bill,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement Thursday. “Make no mistake, House Republicans are exposing how out-of-touch they really are, and it’s going to haunt them at the ballot box in 2018.”

Though Republicans are largely on defense in the 2018 cycle, they do view some Democrats as vulnerable, including Cartwright and Reps. Rick Nolan of Minnesota and Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, whose districts Trump also carried. All 25 Democrats targeted in the new ads are among the NRCC’s 2018 targets.

“These House Democrats felt Nancy Pelosi’s political objectives were more important than giving middle class families much-needed tax relief,” NRCC spokesman Jesse Hunt said. “Now they’ll have to answer for their vote to protect the status quo.”

The committee is not utilizing the ads on its handful of targets from high-tax states, such as New York and New Jersey. Republicans from those states also voted against the legislation because of the curtailing of the deduction for state and local taxes, also known as SALT. 

The NRCC ads will target the following House Democrats:

Correction 1:22 pm | A previous version of this story misstated a line from the NRCC ad targeting Rep. Matt Cartwright.

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