Koch-backed group buys $150K for Southerland

Greg Nash

Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group affiliated with the Koch Brothers, is launching ads in Rep. Steve Southerland’s (R-Fla.) district this week.

The group has reserved $150,000 in airtime in the Tallahassee and Panama City markets for three weeks of advertising, starting Wednesday, according to details provided to The Hill by a Democrat involved in House races. AFP declined to comment.

Southerland is considered one of Republicans’ most vulnerable incumbents, and he’s facing a top-tier Democratic challenger in attorney Gwen Graham. He’s already faced heavy attacks from Democrats. House Majority PAC, major Democratic super PAC engaged in House races, launched ads hammering him over the shutdown last year.

But AFP has also defended him, touting his work opposing ObamaCare in an ad that ran last year — shortly after HMP announced its own attacks. It’s unclear whether AFP’s ads in the district this time will again praise Southerland, or take aim at Graham.

Andy Stone, HMP’s communications director, said the ad buy is an indication Southerland is in a weak position heading into the election year.

"If, as a Republican who won't raise the minimum wage but whines that his $174,000 a year, taxpayer-funded salary is 'not so much,' Southerland's vulnerability weren't clear enough, the fact that Southerland is the first incumbent Republican AFP is coming in to defend in 2014 is confirmation,” said Stone. 

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