In perhaps the most striking example of a vulnerable Democrat racing away from the national party as the midterm elections near, Rep. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) is running a TV ad that features side-by-side photos of him and Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio). The spot touts that he "votes 80 percent with the Republican leader."
Several House Democrats have run ads that speak out against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) by name, but Bright appears to be the first incumbent to feature Boehner, her chief rival in Congress and the man who would be speaker if Republicans win control of the House.
The latest Bright ad is a response to one by the National Republican Congressional Campaign that says he voted "with Nancy Pelosi over 70 percent of the time."
Bright's campaign that was misleading since the 71 percent number actually ranks among the lowest of any Democrat in Congress. The Bright ad says he is "the most independent member of Congress."
Pelosi has said she is fine with members of her caucus distancing themselves from her as they campaign. In an interview Thursday on the PBS Newshour, she said the Democratic caucus was "very diverse in opinion, gender, generation, geography, philosophy, and the rest."
"Some members did not vote for some of the bills, and that’s their record, and that’s what they go out and say," Pelosi said. "I just want them to win."
A House leadership aide backed that up on Friday. Responding to the Bright ad, the aide said: "That's a darn good ad. It's because of independent members like Bright that we'll keep the House."
The Bright campaign did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
The NRCC pounced on Bright's ad.
"Bobby Bright is making our case for us," spokesman Andy Sere said. "Republicans have better ideas for creating jobs and cutting spending, and that's why his latest phony attempt to play Mr. Independent is backfiring."