The group’s spot contrasts the military service of Kind’s opponent, Derrick Van Orden, with what it calls the congressman’s dereliction of duty. A narrator notes Kind missed 138 votes in the last 2.5 years. The ad will air in the La Crosse and Wausau markets.
The decision to go into Kind’s district is notable because new offensive targets have proved rare this cycle for Republicans, who face an increasingly narrow path back to the majority. And they have been pushed into a defensive crouch by Democrats, who have recently made buys targeting deep red seats in Montana, Michigan, Alaska and Colorado.
The GOP initially struggled to find a strong contender to take on Kind. Van Orden, a retired Navy SEAL-turned-author, did not file to run until mid-March of this year and said he decided to do so after Kind voted for the articles of impeachment against Trump.
“The concerted effort Republicans put into recruiting top-tier candidates has allowed us to push deeper into the offensive opportunities some thought might be out of reach this cycle,” CLF President Dan Conston said in a statement.
The group’s internal data from this summer found Trump is still leading Biden in the district, and that a majority of voters want their member of Congress to back the president’s agenda. The generic congressional ballot favors a Republican candidate
President Barack Obama won the seat, which spans the western and southwestern swaths of the state, by 11 points in 2012. Trump won it by nearly 5 points four years later. It is predominantly white and largely rural.
Van Orden is not well-known but has proved a solid fundraiser, and he outraised the incumbent by a 2 to 1 margin in the second quarter. He is already on TV with an ad that links Kind to Pelosi and warns that Kind supports giving stimulus checks to illegal immigrants.
Still, Kind has a formidable cash-on-hand advantage, having banked nearly $3.1 million by late July, compared to Van Orden’s $288,000. The congressman has booked nearly $1.8 million in the district. His opponent has reserved about $1 million, according to data from Advertising Analytics.
No other outside groups have booked air time in the district.