The centrist group Center Forward is going on air with its first ad buy of the election cycle, touting the work of centrists who voted to withhold salaries from Congress unless it passed a budget.
The ads, backing five Democrats and a pair of Republicans, are the opening salvo in what the group promises to be a major effort to shore up centrists in the 2014 elections. [WATCH AD]
The ads will support Democratic Reps. Ron BarberRonald (Ron) Sylvester BarberKavanaugh nomination a make or break moment to repeal Citizens United Latina Leaders to Watch 2018 Principles and actions mean more than Jeff Flake’s words MORE (Ariz.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — A warning shot on Biden's .5T plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden continues to grapple with Afghanistan chaos Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms MORE (Ill.), Pete GallegoPete Pena GallegoER doctor chosen to lead Hispanic Caucus 4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch GOP candidate scores upset win in Texas state Senate runoff MORE (Texas) and John CarneyJohn Charles CarneyDelaware set to raise minimum wage to by 2025 26 governors condemn anti-Asian violence Fracking banned in Delaware River Basin MORE (Del.), as well as Republican Reps. Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentThe Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Influential Republicans threaten to form new party MORE (R-Pa.) and Richard HannaRichard HannaDems unveil bill to block Trump Muslim ban Rep. Gowdy rips Republican for 'unfortunate' Benghazi remark Republican: Benghazi probe 'designed to go after' Hillary MORE (R-N.Y.).
Sinema, Barber, Bustos and Gallego all face potentially tough elections this fall, while Hanna might face a Tea Party challenge.
The initial flight of ads has $755,000 behind it and will run during the next two weeks, with another round planned for May or June. Center Forward spent more than $5 million in the 2012 election, and former Rep. Bud Cramer (D-Ala.) promised it would exceed that level this year.
"We're going to be a force to contend with from now on," he told The Hill.
Cramer said the decision to back members on "No Budget, No Pay" specifically was because they'd shown a willingness to buck their leadership.
"We felt this was an issue where some members in a bipartisan way stepped forward," he said. "It demonstrates to the public that is hearing so much extremism from the far left and far right, here's a voice for the center."
Here's a sample script for the ad that will run supporting Barber:
"Bickering. Dysfunction. Washington's broken, but Ron Barber is bringing people together to do something about it. He worked with Republicans and Democrats to require that, if Congress doesn't pass a budget, it doesn't get paid," says the ad airing in Barber's district. "And Barber has led by example, voting to block a congressional pay raise, refusing his pay during the government shutdown, even donating his congressional healthcare subsidy to southern Arizona charities."