Americans for Prosperity Launches Scathing Six-Figure Ad Targeting Heitkamp for Voting Against Tax Reform

March 21, 2018

A fiscally conservative political advocacy group has launched a a six-figure ad buy slamming Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) for voting against the Republican tax reform law that was enacted a few months ago.

Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the group associated with billionaire conservative donors Charles and David Koch, is putting $450,000 behind the ad, which will run on television and digital outlets all over North Dakota, according to the Hill.

"Heidi Heitkamp went to Washington, and she promised to look out for us," the ad's narrator says.

"Instead, Heidi took hundreds of thousands from well-connected special interests, then gave special interests billions in taxpayer 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 ten vulnerable Senate Democrats who face reelection this year in states that Donald Trump won in 2016. Trump took 63 percent of the vote in North Dakota in contrast to 27 percent of the vote that went to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, the Hill reported.

The Democratic senator is expected to face Rep. Kevin Cramer (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 buy is part of an offensive strategy by the Koch network to sell the Republican tax law and target red state Democrats who voted against it. Democrats have criticized the law from the beginning, but recent polls show voters have been more supportive of it since it was signed into law at the end of December.

The Koch network has committed up to $20 million in advertising for the tax law since February. The commitment includes $8 million put toward calling out Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), who are also seeking reelection in states that Trump carried in 2016.

The Koch network is expected to spend up to $400 million during the 2018 election cycle.