Republican groups launch new attack ads in tightening Pa. special election

Republican groups launch new attack ads in tightening Pa. special election
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Republican groups on Wednesday launched two new ads that attack Democratic hopeful Conor Lamb’s record ahead of the tightening special House election in Pennsylvania.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, is going on the offensive with its latest TV ad that claims Lamb, a former U.S. attorney, wants to work with House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE (Calif.) to grant “amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.”

“Lamb worked in the Obama administration that encouraged sanctuary cities, which put illegal immigrants who commit crimes back on the street,” the ad’s narrator says.

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“Now Conor Lamb wants to help Nancy Pelosi give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.”

The Congressional Leadership Fund has so far spent more than $2 million in the race to support state Rep. Rick Saccone (R), who’s running to replace ex-Rep. Tim MurphyTim MurphyA federal abortion law might be needed Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Pennsylvania New Members 2019 MORE (R) in a district that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE won by nearly 20 points in the 2016 presidential election.

The GOP super PAC has repeatedly sought to link Lamb to Pelosi, claiming that Lamb will support the Pelosi's “liberal” agenda. But Lamb has already said that if elected, he won’t support Pelosi for a leadership role.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) also released a new TV ad that attacks Lamb’s record from when he prosecuted a drug dealer during the state’s opioid crisis.

The House GOP campaign arm’s ad accuses Lamb of giving the dealer a “weaker sentence” in a plea deal that he negotiated.

“Conor Lamb can’t be trusted to keep drugs off our streets and our communities safe," said NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman. “With the opioid epidemic rampant in our communities, he is just too big of a risk to take.”

The ads come as Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, moved the March 13 race toward Democrats, now rating the special election as a toss-up.

Republicans have been pouring millions of dollars into the special election to fend off a potential Democratic upset. Democrats have been making significant strides in state legislative special elections around the country where they’ve flipped a number of GOP-held seats.

While Republicans have outspent their opponents on the airwaves, Democrats are also ramping up their spending in the race. Patriot Majority PAC is the latest group to wade into the race and launched a $250,000 ad buy to boost Lamb.

The ad highlights recent reports that Saccone used an expense account while serving in Pennsylvania’s legislature. Democrats have pushed back, framing his spending as excessive.