The progressive group that grew out of former President Barack Obama’s campaigns is making its first big move since Obama left office, targeting potential swing votes in Congress with digital ads ahead of a government funding fight over President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
Organizing for Action’s digital ad campaign is focusing on heavily Latino districts and states represented by Senate and House Republicans. The aim is to pressure members not to go along with the White House’s demand for funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which the administration has said will cost $21 billion. (Senate Democrats argue that the actual cost would be closer to $70 billion.)
The Trump White House is pushing for wall funding in a new government funding bill, but Senate Democrats have said they can’t support additional cash for one of the administration’s biggest priorities. Government funding runs out next Friday, giving both parties little time to find a solution.
The ads, which will start appearing on Facebook on Monday, tell users to call their representatives and ask them "not to fund President Trump’s wall and deportation force." The ads target Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, the two Senate Republicans considered most vulnerable to a Democratic challenger in 2018.
They’ll also run in a slew of districts represented by House Republicans: Arizona Rep. Martha McSally; California Reps. Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Devin Nunes, Steve Knight, Ed Royce and Darrell Issa; Colorado Reps. Scott Tipton and Mike Coffman; Florida Reps. Brian Mast, Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen; Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent; and Texas Reps. John Culberson, Will Hurd and Pete Sessions.
Hillary Clinton carried most of those districts in the 2016 election. Trump carried the districts of Nunes, Tipton, Mast, Diaz-Balart and Dent.
"This administration wants to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a massive border wall and a cruel deportation force, but only Congress can actually appropriate that spending," Organizing for Action spokesman Jesse Lehrich said. "We want key members to know that if they vote to fund this discriminatory immigration agenda with their constituents’ money, they’ll be held accountable."