Science group reserves nearly $2M in airtime to boost Dems in three states

Science group reserves nearly $2M in airtime to boost Dems in three states
© Greg Nash

A group focused on recruiting and training scientists to run for office is reserving nearly $2 million in TV ads in three states that house highly competitive House races in 2018.

314 Action, named after the first three digits of pi, reserved $1 million in broadcast TV ads in the Los Angeles media market, $500,000 in the Detroit media market and $350,000 in the Seattle media market.

Those ads won’t advocate for specific candidates, but the group has preferred Democratic candidates running in those areas. Democrats will be looking to make inroads in those three areas as they try to flip 24 seats to take back a majority in the House.

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314 Action endorsed Hans Keirstead, who’s running against Rep. Dana RohrabacherDana Tyrone RohrabacherRohrabacher eyes new career as a screenwriter after losing reelection Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results Democratic gains erasing House GOP in California MORE (R-Calif.), and Suneel Gupta, who’s running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Dave TrottDavid Alan TrottMeet the lawmakers putting politics aside to save our climate Michigan New Members 2019 Democrats flip Michigan seat in race between two political newcomers MORE (R-Mich.). Both 314 Action-backed candidates have science backgrounds: Keirstead is a stem cell researcher and Gupta co-founded a health-care app.

The group hasn’t made an endorsement in the open-seat race to succeed Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertOutgoing GOP rep says law enforcement, not Congress should conduct investigations Washington New Members 2019 How Republicans who voted against ObamaCare repeal fared in midterms MORE (R-Wash.), but 314 Action is keeping close tabs on that district since Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRoger Stone fundraising off promise not to testify against Trump Rivaling chants of 'USA,' 'lock him up' greet Flynn after sentencing hearing The Hill's 12:30 Report — Flynn awaits sentencing | White House signals it wants to avoid shutdown MORE won it by 3 points in 2016. Pediatrician Kim Schrier is the leading fundraiser in the eight-person Democratic primary.

"What is clear from our research is that scientists will lead the way for Democrats to retake the House and Senate in 2018,” Joshua Morrow, executive director of 314 Action, said in a statement. “Today, 314 Action is demonstrating its commitment to electing scientists by making our first major investment of resources into areas where we think scientists have a clear shot at flipping seats in November."

More people with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are deciding to run for office in 2018. Many say they are motivated to run as a way to push back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MOREwho has signed an executive order to roll back former President Obama’s climate change agenda.

314 Action believes voters nationwide are enthusiastic to support a candidate for office with a STEM background — and the group says it has the polling to back it up.

A poll conducted by Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling found that nearly three-quarters of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who has a scientific background.

Other findings from the poll include that 55 percent of respondents surveyed support overturning a ban on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducting research on gun violence.

And a little more than 70 percent of polled voters say they have serious or minor concerns about the Trump administration’s “attacks on science.” Fifty-one percent of Republicans polled share similar concerns.

The survey of 745 voters nationwide was conducted Feb. 15-16 via automated phone interviews and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.