Supporters and opponents of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) are spending big in the final days before his election, turning a once-ignored race into a possible upset.
A recent internal poll from challenger Paul Clements put the Democrat within 4 percentage points of Upton, raising the specter that the powerful Republican could be in a sleeper race.
Smelling blood, ads have poured into the state’s 6th District in the final weeks. MayDay PAC, aimed at ending “money’s corrupting influence in politics,” released its latest ad slamming Upton on Wednesday.
The 30-second ad accuses Upton of helping special interests and taking money from insurance companies that wanted to cut Medicare.
The super-PAC initially said it would spend $1.5 million in an effort to defeat Upton, but it is now on its way to spending at least $2.15 million.
On Thursday, MayDay PAC doubled down, sending a memo from its co-founder Lawrence Lessig on the state of the race.
“A month ago, Rep. Fred Upton might have thought he was cruising to another landslide re-election, and then everything changed,” Lessig, a Harvard University professor, states in the memo.
“To be sure, Upton has reason to be concerned,” he adds.
Lessig also accuses Upton of taking millions form “Big Oil” and energy interests throughout his career.
Upton campaign spokesman Tom Wilbur shot back Thursday, saying Upton is “running full-speed ahead.”
"Despite their out-of-state 'super-PAC' dropping millions in false and negative advertisements, our own internal polling of voters has consistently shown a strong and growing double-digit lead, as recently as today,” Wilbur said.
“Fred continues to focus on his positive agenda that highlights his many bipartisan success stories that have helped to create jobs, boost our economy, and help everyone here in Southwest Michigan.”
Upton’s campaign released an ad of its own this week, which features voter testimonies that defend the congressman’s reputation as a leader and who fights for the community.
The American Future Fund's political wing spent a hefty sum on a new TV ad Wednesday supporting Upton.
The conservative group’s $300,000 ad buy touts Upton’s record for “fighting for bipartisan solutions.”
“Upton has led the fight to reduce taxes, eliminate unnecessary government red tape, and approve the Keystone Pipeline,” said Nick Ryan, chairman of AFF Political Action, in a statement.
“Congressman Upton deserves re-election because he is an independent leader who has put his district first and will continue to be a wonderful public servant,” Ryan added.