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GOP super PAC ties 2 freshmen to Ocasio-Cortez in new digital ads
CLF knocks lawmakers over Green New Deal even though they aren’t co-sponsors

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is featured in new digital ads from the Congressional Leadership Fund. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A Republican super PAC is wasting no time tying vulnerable House Democrats to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as it launches digital ads in two districts Monday. 

Congressional Leadership Fund, a group aligned with House GOP leadership, is targeting two freshman lawmakers, Antonio Delgado of New York and Colin Allred of Texas, in the new ads shared first with Roll Call. The ads are part of a five-figure digital buy.

DCCC hits Republicans on shutdown in first digital spending of 2020 cycle
Facebook ads target 25 Republicans for missed pay for national security workers

The DCCC’s first digital expenditure of the 2020 cycle uses the government shutdown to attack GOP incumbents like Minnesota’s Jim Hagedorn, pictured above in his Mankato, Minn., campaign office last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s first digital spending of the 2020 cycle attacks House Republicans for the shutdown.

The DCCC ads, obtained first by Roll Call, will target 25 House Republicans, specifically blaming them for national security workers missing their second paycheck. The static ads begin running Friday and will be geotargeted on Facebook. 

Democrats Press Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to Disclose More About Political Ads
Senators want voluntary disclosures about buyers of politically charged advertising

Democrats want Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to offer more voluntary disclosure about political ads. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A contingent of Senate Democratic Conference members want Facebook to voluntarily disclose more about the sources of advertising dollars on the social media platform.

The group led by New Jersey’s Robert Menendez, highlights in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg efforts by Russia to use Facebook to spread political messaging to undermine the U.S. electoral process.

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Party Leadership Duped Voters With Millions for ‘Dubious’ Midterm Ads, Report Finds
Congress, FEC could close loopholes so voters know who is paying for campaigns, group says

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on Nov. 14. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly elected members of Congress benefited from millions of dollars indirectly tied to party leaders in Washington. But much of that money was spent on ads that appeared to be from local groups, according to a study released Thursday.

The tactic is legal, thanks to campaign finance laws that have not been updated since the dawn of the digital age and Supreme Court rulings that have struck down limits on money in politics. But such strategies, laid out in the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s “Dodging Disclosure” report, represent the acceleration of “big money trends” that have given deep-pocketed groups outsize influence over elections and made the 2018 midterms the most expensive in American history, the report said.

Top Trump PAC to Flood Mississippi Airwaves Ahead of Senate Runoff
Cindy Hyde-Smith faces Mike Espy in last undecided Senate race of the cycle

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., is in a Nov. 27 special election runoff with Democrat Mike Espy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A top super PAC aligned with President Donald Trump is infusing the Mississippi Senate special election runoff with nearly $300,000 to help Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Hyde-Smith will face former Democratic Rep. Mike Espy, who also served as Agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration, in the Nov. 27 runoff. Neither cleared 50 percent in the Nov. 6 jungle primary, which saw two Republicans and two Democrats run together on the same ballot.

Trump Campaign Tests Out Nickname Game for 2020
NRSC, outside groups leaned into tactic to vanquish Heitkamp, Donnelly in midterms

Expect a batch of new nicknames for President Donald Trump's political opponents as the 2020 campaign heats up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s campaign team is experimenting in its laboratory with potential nicknames for his potential opponents in the 2020 presidential election.

The president’s trademark campaign tactic from 2016 — the birth year of “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, “Little” Marco Rubio, and “Lyin’” Ted Cruz — became so ubiquitous in his speeches and campaign literature that it spawned an exhaustive Wikipedia list of everyone whose name Trump has manipulated for political gain.

The Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2018
House and Senate ads that made us laugh, cry and cringe

West Virginia’s Don Blankenship lost his bid for the Republican Senate nomination. (Screenshot/Blankenship for Congress/YouTube)

The best (or worst) part of following campaigns — depending on your perspective — is watching all the ads. TV spots from campaigns and outside groups have flooded the airwaves this year, beginning with the primaries this spring. 

We’re not judging which ones have been most effective, which were most inaccurate or most offensive. And we’re excluding the biopic viral videos that have raised so much money for Democratic candidates. (For the most part, these lengthy videos didn’t run on TV in full.)

You Don’t Know Them, But You May Know Their Voices
Political voiceover actors are on call right up to Election Day

Kathryn Klvana has recorded voiceovers for Democratic independent expenditure ads in Virginia's 10th District, similar to the one above against GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Even in the final days of the campaign, Sheldon Smith is a busy man.

A phone call to his cell on Wednesday first went to voicemail. The recording left no mistaking it was the right number; it was the voice of a someone who talks for a living. 

The North Carolina Race That Wasn’t Supposed to Be in Play
GOP Rep. George Holding faces his toughest re-election — in a district drawn for his party

Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., is running for re-election for the first time with a Republican in the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

NASHVILLE, N.C. — Rep. George Holding didn’t have time to finish his beer.

The North Carolina Republican made a last-minute appearance at the local Chamber of Commerce’s Fall Shrimp, Oyster and Chicken Fest here Thursday night. But after 20 minutes of schmoozing at the entrance of the Rose Hill Plantation, it was time to push on to the opening of a county GOP headquarters about 20 minutes away.