Chamber moves to boost establishment picks

The Chamber of Commerce is launching a flurry of ads this week in one of its largest investments yet this cycle, aimed at boosting establishment picks in Republican primaries and expected GOP nominees in competitive blue states.

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The Associated Press is reporting the Chamber will go up in North Carolina on Wednesday, less than a week before the primary there, with an ad touting House Speaker Thom Tillis as “a bold conservative who balanced our budgets and reduced regulations.”

In Georgia, with the primary just two weeks away, the Chamber will launch an ad Wednesday calling Rep. Jack Kingston (R) a "conservative fighter" and a "consistent conservative getting big government out of the way of Georgia job creation."

Both Tillis and Kingston are seen by the establishment as the strongest candidates in their respective primaries, but neither has yet locked down the nomination.

In North Carolina, a candidate needs to top 40 percent to avoid a runoff, and polling has shown Tillis just shy of that threshold; in Georgia, where Kingston is facing seven other Republicans in the primary, a candidate needs to top 50 percent.

"We will aggressively support those candidates who plan to campaign on a free enterprise and growth agenda, have the courage to govern and the ability to win," said Rob Engstrom, national political director for the Chamber, of the ads.

Engstrom described the overall expenditures as one of the Chamber's largest investments, according to the AP.

North Carolina’s Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is a top Republican target, while Democrats have designated Georgia as a potential pickup opportunity and are running a top-tier candidate in Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn.

The Chamber is also airing ads in Alaska, backing former state Attorney General Dan Sullivan over Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2010 nominee Joe Miller. In the new ad, a narrator says Democratic Sen. Mark Begich sides with Washington, while Sullivan “is always fighting for Alaska” — an attempt to insulate the candidate from carpetbagging charges.

And in Michigan, the Chamber is launching ads in support of GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land and Rep. Steve Daines (R) in Montana, both candidates are hoping to pick up blue seats this fall.

The group is also wading into Idaho’s 2nd District race, where Rep. Mike Simpson (R) is facing a primary challenge from businessman Bryan Smith, with an ad in which 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney calles Simpson “the conservative choice” in the race; and in North Carolina’s 7th District, where the ad attacks attorney Woody White, the conservative challenger to establishment pick state Sen. David Rouzer.

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