Election Central

US Chamber of Commerce to air ads, calling Rep. Simpson ‘conservative, Idaho strong’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which includes Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot on its board, will spend $84,000 on TV ads in Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District to support eight-term GOP Congressman Mike Simpson.

The Associated Press reported the news Thursday, having obtained advance copies of ads running in Idaho and in two races in West Virginia, backing establishment Republican candidates.

The Chamber spot will begin airing Friday in the Boise, Twin Falls and Idaho Falls TV markets.

The ad aims at the independent campaign of the Club for Growth, which calls Simpson one of the “biggest Republican-in-name-only” members of Congress. The anti-tax group endorsed Simpson challenger Bryan Smith last summer, boosting Smith’s fundraising and name recognition nationally.

The ad doesn’t mention Smith, but Smith’s campaign manager Carrie Brown issued a statement saying, “Bryan is proud of the support he has garnered from conservatives across the Second District. No amount of money can hide Congressman Simpson’s liberal votes, and the more people find out about him the more support Bryan receives from Idaho business owners and individuals.”

National publications have focused on the Idaho race, calling it pivotal test of establishment GOP forces to beat back tea party challengers. The American Chemistry Council ran pro-Simpson ads this summer. Both the Chamber and Chemistry Council ads are independent expenditures, and, by law, must not be coordinated with candidates.

The new ad calls Simpson “conservative, Idaho strong,” and displays an image commonly used by Idaho GOP candidates — House Democratic Leader and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Pelosi and her allies want more government spending and more regulations. No way,” says the commercial. “Mike Simpson is fighting back, working for a balanced budget, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, fixing the Obamacare mess.”

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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Posted in Election Central, Idaho Politics