House campaign committees launch first ads of 2014

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee both rolled out their first ads of the 2014 election cycle on Tuesday.

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The DCCC's first independent expenditure spots attack embattled Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Republican candidate Tom MacArthur, who's running in the swing district being vacated by retiring Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). The NRCC takes aim at Gwen Graham (D), who's giving Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.) a tough challenge in his GOP-leaning district.

The anti-Grimm spot splices together TV coverage of his indictment on fraud charges and threats toward a local reporter, while the MacArthur spot also focuses on ethics.

"When disaster strikes, some try and help. Insurance CEO Tom MacArthur tried to profit," the DCCC's ad says. "MacArthur ran an insurance company accused of cheating hurricane and wildfire victims. While people suffer, MacArthur walked away with $39 million. In Congress, MacArthur wants to help insurance companies jack up rates and deny people coverage. Tom MacArthur and his friends profit and we pay the price."

The NRCC seeks to paint Graham, the daughter of the state's popular former governor and senator, Bob Graham, as a two-faced liberal.

"Gwen Graham talks about the North Florida way, but she sure acts the D.C. way. Take ObamaCare: Graham never admits she's for it but says we needs to stop fighting it. Graham won't talk about her vote for Speaker, but Nancy Pelosi has given thousands to her campaign. We shoot straight around here. Gwen Graham doesn't. She's the wrong way for North Florida, so why would we send her to Congress?" the ad says.

All three ads are targeted at Democratic pickup opportunities in a year where Democrats are mostly playing defense. Strategists in both parties say Graham is giving Southerland fits, while most believe the New Jersey seat slightly favors Republicans, and Grimm is down but now out.

— This post was updated at 10:00 a.m.

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