Identity theft becomes issue in Fla. race

Florida House candidate Allen West (R) signed up for LifeLock after Democrats circulated his Social Security number in a campaign mailer.

“Allen and his family had to go out and get identity-theft protection — I believe LifeLock is what they purchased,” Josh Grodin, a spokesman for West, told The Ballot Box. “They’re also in the process of getting new Social Security numbers.”

LifeLock’s advertising features company Chairman Todd Davis sharing his Social Security number on busy city streets. 

West is challenging Rep. Ron Klein (D), whom he ran against and lost to in 2008. 

Last Friday, a Florida Democratic Party mailer featuring a copy of a 2005 tax lien against West, which inadvertently bore his Social Security number, landed in voters’ mailboxes.

A spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party apologized to West. “We apologize for the oversight of not redacting this information from the public record included in the mailer,” Eric Jotkoff told The Palm Beach Post. “In order to stop the crazy West accusations, we will pay for identify-theft monitoring for the next two years.”

Grodin said the Wests were “offended by that apology.” They turned the party down on the offer. Moreover, West’s campaign is now considering legal action. “We’re talking to our lawyers right now about our options,” he said.

The unfortunate incident may be West’s political gain. Twenty percent of the district is over 65 and seniors are disproportionately victims of identity theft, which could cause a backlash against Klein.

To drive the message home, West released a new TV ad Wednesday calling Klein a “desperate politician.”

“It makes you wonder what else Klein will do to me, or to you,” West says in the 30-second spot.

— S.J.M.

McConnell, Cornyn 
to headline D.C. fundraiser for W.Va. Republican

Republican businessman John Raese, who appears on the verge of making a real race out of West Virginia’s special Senate election, will be in Washington next week for a breakfast fundraiser.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) will both attend the event, according to an invitation provided to The Ballot Box. 

Raese faces West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) this fall in the special election to fill the remainder of the late Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D) Senate seat. 

The fundraiser is set for Tuesday morning at a Capitol Hill restaurant. Individual tickets go for $500, while the price is set at $1,000 for a political action committee and $2,500 to co-host the event. 

Manchin was supposed to be a shoo-in to fill Byrd’s seat after Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) passed on the race, but new numbers out Monday from Public Policy showed the contest in a dead heat. 

Raese has been largely self-funding his bid against Manchin, pouring more than half a million dollars of his own money into TV ads trying to tie the governor to President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Washington.

— S.D.

Midterm political ads 
could boost network 
coffers by $2.5 billion

Fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision on campaign finance reform could result in a $2.5 billion profit for media companies because of the influx of political ads, according to a new study from the media tracking firm SNL Kagan.

The group forecast a 25 percent revenue rise above 2006 for TV and radio stations in states with highly competitive races, according to a release.

Most of the $2.5 billion will go to TV networks, but radio ad revenue is expected to reach about $560 million, the group said.

“In 2010, we expect that the combination of political unrest, high-profile congressional and gubernatorial races and the Jan. 21 Supreme Court ruling that struck down certain laws restricting corporate and labor contributions to campaigns will lead to a political ad revenue treasure trove for broadcasters,” said SNL Kagan analyst Tony Lenoir in the release.

The January Supreme Court ruling lifted spending restrictions on political advertisements by corporations and unions.

Several of the most competitive races this cycle are in the country’s most expensive media markets: California’s Senate and gubernatorial campaigns, Pennsylvania’s Senate race, Florida’s Senate and gubernatorial races and Illinois’s Senate race. Several tight House races are also happening in Chicago’s expensive media market.

The Senate is debating the Disclose Act, the Democrats’ legislative response to the Supreme Court decision, all day Wednesday, with a vote expected Thursday afternoon. The House passed its version of the legislation in June.

— Emily Goodin

Miller and D’Aprile are campaign reporters for The Hill.  They can be found on The Hill’s Ballot Box, located at