Pence group to target vulnerable Democrats over gas prices
Former Vice President Mike Pence’s advocacy group is launching ads in three Democratic-held congressional districts hitting President Biden and Democrats over rising gas prices.
The ads from Advancing American Freedom, details of which were obtained first by The Hill, will air on cable in each district and be pushed on digital platforms in the districts of Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), all seen as vulnerable heading into November’s midterm election.
The six-digit ad buy announced Monday is the third wave of ads as part of Advancing American Freedom’s campaign focused on energy independence. It comes at a time when rising gas prices have been a central component of Republican attacks on the Biden administration.
The ad airing in Kansas’s 3rd Congressional District features a woman who bemoans how high gas prices have affected her family’s budget.
“I don’t understand why President Biden and the Democrats are refusing to use America’s energy resources to bring down costs,” the woman says after explaining she drives 70 miles a day between getting to work and bringing her kids to school.
The advertisement airing in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District features a woman who criticizes Biden and Democrats for “the worst inflation crisis in 40 years” and says it costs her $80 to fill her minivan up with gas.
The third ad, airing in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, features a man next to a pickup truck and overlays of a clip of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg encouraging more people to consider buying electric vehicles.
“We love our American made trucks, and we want them to run on affordable, American-made energy,” the man says.
Pence’s group previously announced a $10 million ad campaign hitting Democrats over economic sanctions on Russia, the second phase of which focused specifically on promoting American energy.
Pence has been a visible GOP figure in the lead-up to the midterms, making regular speaking appearances on college campuses and at conservative events. His advocacy group last month released a lengthy policy agenda, further spurring speculation he may be positioning himself for a presidential campaign in 2024.
Pence and other Republicans have hit the Biden administration and Democrats over their energy policies, arguing that moves like rescinding the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and pushing electric vehicles and renewable forms of energy have harmed U.S. oil production and led to a spike in gas prices.
Experts have noted the pipeline would not have been transporting fuel at this point. Biden administration officials have taken steps to try and mitigate rising gas prices by releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The U.S. last month banned Russian oil imports to try and further punish Moscow.
Biden and his team have steadfastly blamed rising gas prices on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, deeming high fuel costs the “Putin price hike” because of the instability the invasion caused in global markets.
The average cost of a gallon of regular gas was $4.08 as of Sunday, according to AAA. That number is down from a month ago, when the average price per gallon was $4.33, but it is still up roughly 50 cents from early March.