Republicans are leveraging voter frustration with high prices to hammer Democrats in midterms campaign ads.
GOP groups and campaigns up and down the ballot have produced 93 distinct TV ads mentioning inflation, spending $13 million on more than 30,000 airings from the start of 2021 through Thursday. By comparison, their Democratic counterparts have produced just two ads mentioning inflation, spending about $600,000 on 1,700 airings, according to a CNN analysis of AdImpact data.
In their ads, Republicans blame policies from President Joe Biden and Democrats in Washington for inflation, which is at its highest level since 1982.
One Nation, a GOP group, is targeting Democratic senators in key states such as Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire with an ad filled with newsclips about inflation, saying, “Inflation is killing us. Stop the reckless spending.”
Another GOP group, Building America’s Future, is running ads across a range of competitive House and Senate races, warning that “inflation is rising out of control, prices surging from cars to gasoline, to groceries and utilities.” And American Action Network, a conservative group, is running ads in multiple races about “record inflation,” calling it a “hidden tax on the working class.”
Republican candidates for US Senate in key races across the country have also made inflation a point of emphasis.
In Arizona, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly faces a competitive reelection campaign, and Republican challenger Jim Lamon accuses the senator in one of his ads of causing “rampant inflation” by supporting the Biden agenda. Lamon first faces a crowded GOP primary that includes state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, venture capitalist Blake Masters and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire.
In the race to replace retiring Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman, Republican Mike Gibbons – a self-funding candidate pouring millions into his bid – has an ad that says, “It’s roaring into our lives, Biden’s raging inflation. We’re paying the high price, and politicians are completely to blame.” The competitive GOP primary there also features former state party chair Jane Timken, state senator and Cleveland Guardians part-owner Matt Dolan, author J.D. Vance and former state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
In another key open-seat Senate race, Pennsylvania Republican Mehmet Oz is spending millions on his ads saying “Biden’s reckless spending caused inflation.” GOP Sen. Pat Toomey’s retirement in the battleground state has drawn a long list of contenders for his seat, including former hedge fund manager David McCormick and Trump-era Ambassador Carla Sands on the GOP side, and state Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and US Rep. Conor Lamb on the Democratic side.
And in Missouri, US Rep. Billy Long – a former auctioneer running in the contested Republican primary for retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat that also includes ex-Gov. Eric Greitens and US Rep. Vicky Hartzler – remarks on inflation in one of his campaign spots. “Now we have Biden and the far left crazies letting inflation rise faster than an auctioneer rattling off numbers,” he says.
Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who is up for reelection this fall in a state that Biden carried in 2020, warns in an ad that “from open borders, increasing crime and rising inflation, Democratic policies are weakening America.”
Democrats – currently with control of the White House and both chambers of Congress – have referenced inflation far less often in their midterms advertising. Alex Lasry, a potential challenger to Johnson in Wisconsin, confronts the issue in one of his ads: “Supply chain backlogs. Inflation agitation. Here’s an idea. If we make things here in America, supply chain issues won’t be a thing anymore.”