Koch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp

Koch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against Heitkamp

A group associated with billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch is launching a six-figure ad buy attacking North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampVirginia loss lays bare Democrats' struggle with rural voters Washington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight MORE (D) for voting against the Republican tax overhaul.

The fiscally conservative group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is putting about $450,000 behind the ad, which will begin running statewide through television and digital outlets beginning Wednesday.

“Heidi Heitkamp went to Washington and she promised to look out for us,” the ad's narrator states.

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“Instead, Heidi took hundreds of thousands from well-connected special interests, then gave special interests hundreds of thousands in handouts. Caribbean Rum distillers, Hollywood filmmakers, racehorse owners — they all cashed in. But when Heidi had the chance to help us with real tax cuts, she turned her back, voted no. Heidi Heitkamp — handouts for special interests, higher taxes for us.”

Heitkamp is one of 10 Senate Democrats seeking reelection this year in states that President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE carried in 2016. Trump took 63 percent of the vote in North Dakota, against only 27 percent for Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE.

The Democratic senator is expected to face Rep. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' McConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Advocates see pilot program to address inequalities from highways as crucial first step MORE (R-N.D.) in the general election. There is very little polling of the race, but a February survey from Gravis Marketing found Heitkamp ahead by 3 points, 43 to 40 percent.

AFP recently launched an initiative called American Pay Raise in the 10 states with Democratic senators facing tough reelection bids. It includes a six-figure digital ad buy thanking lawmakers who supported the GOP tax bill that Trump signed into law in December.

No Democrats in the Senate voted in favor of the tax law.

The AFP ad buys are part of a broad offensive by the Koch network to sell the GOP tax law — and to attack the red-state Democrats who voted against it.

The tax bill was enormously unpopular at the time of its passage but recent polls show voters have warmed to the law since it went into effect.

The Koch Network has committed up to $20 million in advertising for the tax law. Since February, AFP has spent nearly $8 million in ads going after Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (Ind.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (Mo.), two Democrats who also are seeking reelection in states won by Trump.

The Koch Network will spend up to $400 million this cycle on politics and policy.

Allied groups have already put $1.6 million behind ads in Wisconsin attacking Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinWisconsinites need infrastructure that is built to last  Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO MORE (D-Wis.) for her handling of a prescription drugs scandal at a local Veterans Affairs center.

On the policy front, the network is urging the White House to get behind a Democratic proposal to extend protections to those covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and is urging Congress to pass a bill allowing terminally ill patients to use experimental drugs. Prison reform and reducing recidivism rates among former prisoners is another top Koch priority.