After close calls in Kansas and Georgia, where Democrat John Ossoff is still narrowly favored to win a traditionally Republican seat in a June runoff, Republicans are building higher levees in Montana’s special House election. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, is releasing its second spot in a planned $800,000 buy — a rundown of Democrat Rob Quist’s progressive positions. It’s the third congressional race in which the CLF has linked the Democratic candidate to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
But the ad also represents a break from what Democrats have braced for — attacks on Quist’s criticism of “assault” weapons. A narrator warns that “Quist supports devastating military budget cuts,” and the source is a January 22 interview (the same one where the candidate talked about guns) in which he spoke generally about the defense budget.
“Our federal budget is 64 percent military,” he said. “That’s money that could be going toward health care or Social Security.”
The ad also knocks Quist for a run of tax issues that were exposed after he won the party’s nomination; in interviews, Quist has cited his financial issues as a reason he came to favor single-payer health care.
But the national attention on Montana has cut both ways for candidates. At the end of the first reporting period, Quist claimed to have raised $1.3 million for his bid; on Thursday, his campaign said the total had spiked, in less than 10 days, to $2 million.