A recent CNN analysis by Catherine Shoichet finds that more than $150 million has been spent on immigration attack ads this year – up fivefold over 2014.
America’s Voice is tracking these anti-immigrant attack ads and featuring some of the ugliest examples at the new America’s Voice “Divide and Distract” website, which includes a searchable database of the worst of the worst immigration ads we’ve seen this cycle.
Below are some of the most recent examples:
- In the Nevada Senate race, the Mitch McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund has a new tv ad that raises the spectre of MS-13 and devolves from there, attacking Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Jacky Rosen for supposedly coddling immigrant criminals. The Senate Leadership Fund also has a 60 second radio ad on this same subject. The new Nevada ads – designed to bolster the candidacy of incumbent GOP Senator and supposed moderate Dean Heller – echo the homestretch gang-related campaign focus of infamous 2010 Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle in her challenge against former Senator Harry Reid, as well as the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial strategy of Ed Gillespie (both of which backfired against the GOP).
- In the Arizona Governor race, the RGA is back with another attack on David Garcia. The focus is Garcia saying “No wall.”
- In Arizona’s Senate race, Defend Arizona, a superPAC supporting GOP candidate Rep. Martha McSally, is running Facebook ads attacking Democratic candidate Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for “turning her back on law enforcement” and supposedly supporting sanctuary cities.
- In Georgia’s Governor race, GOP candidate and current Secretary of State Brian Kemp is running Facebook ads claiming Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams wants “illegals” to vote, including one featuring former ICE Director Tom Homan. One includes a video of Kemp’s interview on FOX.
- In the Montana Senate race, Protect Freedom PAC, the superPAC of Ron and Rand Paul acolytes, has an ad attacking Democratic Senator Jon Tester for a litany of positions, including supposed support for sanctuary cities.
- In WI-01, the Paul Ryan-affiliated Congressional Leadership Fund is running an anti-immigrant ad against Democratic challenger Randy Bryce – including hits on Bryce for supposedly backing sanctuary cities and Abolish ICE and calling his views are “extreme and dangerous.”
- In the New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer’s story “Attack Ads Against Some Democrats Try to Portray Them as Terrorists,” describes how Rep. Duncan Hunter and a host of other Republican candidates and outside allies are running on race-baiting Islamophobic ads and false fear-mongering against Democratic candidates.
The 2017 Virginia gubernatorial election should have offered a cautionary tale for the GOP about the dangers of this focus in the homestretch of a campaign. Republican Ed Gillespie relied on race-baiting MS-13 ads down to the stretch in hopes of overtaking Democrat Ralph Northam, and ended up losing by a whopping 9 points. As Geoff Garin, the pollster for Northam, recently told Robert Draper of the New York Times, “Gillespie ran the kinds of MS-13 ads that are now running in other parts of the country. We measured a real backlash to that advertising with suburban voters, in part because it connected Gillespie to the anti-immigrant thrust of Trump’s persona.”
Here’s a rundown of other early and special elections – in Florida, Pennsylvania, Florida, Missouri, Alabama, New York, and New Jersey – that underscore just how ineffective the GOP’s anti-immigrant scapegoating has been to date.