Kasich hit over Common Core

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich's recent rise in New Hampshire polls has brought on a well-funded “dark money” campaign to bring down his candidacy.

The attack ad — funded by a group using anonymous donors — hits Kasich for supporting the Common Core education standards and for expanding Medicaid in Ohio under ObamaCare. These two issues enrage many Republican primary voters. 

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The ad shows images of Kasich smiling and huddling close to President Obama and closes with the line, “John Kasich. Not a conservative. Not even a moderate. An Obama Republican.”

More than $500,000 worth of anti-Kasich ads have already been booked on New Hampshire's WMUR station, according to the Federal Communications Commission. But the non-profit group funding the ads, the American Future Fund, plans to spend $1 million attacking Kasich in New Hampshire, the group's strategist reportedly told The New York Times.

The Hill has contacted the American Future Fund for comment.

Relatively little is known about the American Future Fund. It is colloquially described as a dark money outfit because its status as a non-profit "social welfare” organization allows it to hide its donors’ identities. 

What is known about the group is that it has deep pockets. It spent $25 million to help Republicans during the 2012 campaign cycle, according to the non-partisan watchdog Center for Responsive Politics. 

The non-profit was founded by Iowa operative Nick Ryan, who has been working for Republican candidate Mike Huckabee's super-PAC. 

Ohio political operative Nick Everhart, who recently produced an ad for Huckabee's super-PAC that depicts Ted Cruz as a “phony” Christian, is also tied to the group.  

Kasich's campaign is hitting back, sending out fundraising emails on Wednesday urging supporters to help the governor fight back against the dark money ads.

Kasich's super-PAC, New Day for America, has gone a step further, filing formal complaints with the Federal Election Commission and WMUR-TV against the American Future Fund.  

“The first-in-the-nation primary will be decided by New Hampshire voters, not faceless out-of-state millionaires,” said Connie Wehrkamp, New Day For America spokeswoman. “We're calling on Governor Huckabee to disavow the ads and ask that they be taken down.”