Ricketts’ Ending Spending Gets Behind Byrne

Ad in Alabama House race could bolster Byrne's cred with Tea Party

A new ad from a prominent conservative group could bolster Republican Bradley Byrne’s Tea Party credentials in the days before he faces Dean Young in a special election for a House seat in Alabama.

The ad bills Byrne, currently a state senator, as a "true Alabama conservative" who "took on big union special interests" and cut spending. It also touts his endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the Chamber of Commerce.

The ad, produced by the group Ending Spending, could prove impactful as Byrne looks to fend off Young, who has been touted as the more conservative candidate.

Ending Spending’s ad attacks Young as a "career politician" who "started numerous PACs, then paid most of the money to his own company." That line mirrors attacks from the Byrne campaign, which has accused Young of using political groups to enrich himself.

Popular conservative radio hosts Mark Levin and Erick Erickson mentioned Byrne’s Chamber endorsement as cause for skepticism. Both offered support for Young, despite what Erickson called his "crazy views," such as his claim that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

"Bradley Byrne is not a tea party type," Erickson claimed. "He is an establishment Republican type."

Ending Spending’s ad could improve Byrne’s image among Tea Party-aligned voters before Tuesday’s special election and demonstrate appeal to both conservatives and the business community.

The group has also backed prominent tea party conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.) and Gov. Scott Walker (R., Wis.), with major media buys in the waning days of their tight elections, earning it  credibility among the Republican Party’s conservative wing.

Ending Spending was founded in 2010 by Joe Ricketts, the founder of the online trading brokerage TD Ameritrade, whose family owns the Chicago Cubs. Ricketts' son Todd, an Illinois businessman, runs the organization, which is also supported by major donors across the country.

Ending Spending is currently spending close to $500,000 for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is locked in a tight battle for the Virginia Governor's mansion.