Interest groups keep the political ads coming

The election is over, but advocacy groups on the left and right are still campaigning.

The conservative Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) is spending $500,000 to run post-election TV and digital ads in Washington, D.C., New York City and South Florida.


The group said it launched the campaign Sunday to thank President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE for promising to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court with a conservative justice.

The ad opens with a clip of Trump saying, “The Supreme Court is what it is all about. It’s just so imperative that we have the right justices.” 

A voice then says, “American people want justices that are strong and independent to protect our Constitution and make sure its meaning is preserved. And because of Donald Trump, the next Supreme Court justice will do just that.”

Trump has pledged to nominate a judge “very much in the mold” of the Justice Antonin Scalia, whose death earlier this year left the current vacancy. He even offered a list of potential nominees during his presidential campaign in an unprecedented move to soothe concerns on the right. By doing so he earned Republican support in spite of his harsh immigration policies and recorded remarks abut groping women, among other controversies.

Carrie Severino, JCN’s chief counsel and policy director, argues that JCN is simply trying to make people understand the significance of the vacancy on the court.

“We know Democrats are preparing the ground to oppose anyone Trump puts out there,” she said. “We want to remind people how excellent this list of judges is.”  

She claimed the ads are in no way a sign of fear Trump will go back on his word.   

“He has doubled and tripled down on this,” she said. “I see no indication he would back off the list.”

Meanwhile, the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee is running an ad targeting Republican Senator Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' Trump endorses McSally in Arizona Senate race Jeff Flake becoming Harvard fellow MORE (Ariz.), who’s up for reelection in 2018.

The ad, airing in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz., as wells as D.C., calls on viewers to demand Flake oppose Trump’s decision to make Stephen Bannon his chief strategist and senior counselor. Bannon is a former Wall Street banker who became a top executive at the far-right Breitbart News.

The ad includes a clip of Flake on CBS saying “I’m of the mind to always give the president a lot of deference when he’s putting together his team.” 

It ends with a message to viewers: “Tell Senator Jeff Flake: Demand Trump Fire Bannon.” The number to his Phoenix office is then listed.  

“Flake was vocal against Trump leading up to the election and now that it’s no longer a hypothetical ... all of a sudden Flake is silent and side stepping questions,” said Kait Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. 

“If Flake is principled against what Bannon represents, which he said he is, then he should be principled against Bannon being in the White House.” 

Flake was highly critical of Trump’s run for the White House and refused to endorse him. He even had a war of words with Trump during the campaign after the business mogul called him “weak.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is considering running additional ads targeting other senators up for reelection in 2018.

“Every day there’s a new story about the way Trump is flouting the norms of the presidency and going against the will of the voters,” Sweeney said. “It should be an issue now. Senators like Flake should be answering to voters now when these decisions are being made.”