A mysterious super PAC ultimately revealed to be funded by Democrats spent nearly $2 million in Arizona’s U.S. Senate Republican primary attacking the eventual nominee Rep. Martha McSally.
CNN reported that the blandly named “Red and Gold” super PAC concealed its donors until after last month’s primary election by forming on Aug. 1, just weeks ahead of the contest.
“Per FEC requirements, that meant the group wouldn’t file a report detailing its fundraising and spending until Sept. 20, nearly a month after the contest took place,” according to CNN.
A similar tactic was employed in West Virginia’s Republican primary, as well as last December’s special election pitting GOP nominee Judge Roy Moore against Democrat Doug Jones.
Politico reported that the new disclosure shows the Red and Gold was funded by the Senate Majority PAC, the main super PAC aligned with Senate Democrats.
The group seeded Red and Gold PAC with $1.7 million, which it used to hit McSally with attack ads beginning in early August.
Among the attacks ads that Red and Gold ran was one claiming McSally supported an “age tax” that led older people to pay more for health insurance.
Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb dismissed this ad as “over the top” and “outlandish,” explaining it’s based on McSally’s support for a bill backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan that would have repealed and replaced Obamacare.
The legislation had nothing to do with Medicare, which is how “older” Americans receive their health care coverage, but addressed government subsidies offered based on age prior to being eligible for Medicare at 65 years old.
Robb argued if the ad’s definition of tax is adopted, Sinema would be guilty of supporting an age tax by her backing of Obamacare in the first place.
McSally handily won Arizona’s Republican Aug. 28 primary with 53 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Kelli Ward, took 28 percent.
However, even if the Red and Gold super PAC failed in denying the nomination to McSally, who was considered Democrat nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s most formidable foe among the GOP field, it still availed itself of the opportunity to bloody and begin to define the Republican candidate heading into November’s contest.
The Cook Political Report rates the race a “toss up,” meaning it offers the Democrats one of its few solid chances to pick up a Senate seat in November currently held by a Republican.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls gives Sinema a 2.5 percent advantage over McSally: 47.3 to 44.8 percent.
An NBC News/Marist poll published this week found Sinema with a three-point advantage, 48 to 45 percent; however, NBC noted McSally had risen significantly since the group’s June survey, when the result was 49 to 38 percent in Sinema’s favor.
According to NBC, when Green Party nominee Angela Green is included as an option in the poll, Sinema’s edge with likely voters slips to 45 percent to McSally’s 43 percent.
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