FIRST ON FOX – A leading conservative advocacy group that backs Republican causes is taking aim at House Democrats over the issue of crime and urging Congress to support a new measure that backs law enforcement.
The news ads by the American Action Network (AAN), which were shared first with Fox News on Monday, spotlight Democrats who voted against a bill by the House Republican majority that was signed into law earlier this year by President Biden and aimed at nullifying a proposed overhaul by city officials of the District of Columbia’s criminal code.
And the digital ads, which AAN says it’s spending $100,000 to run online this week during National Police Week 2023, also urge lawmakers to support the Protect and Serve Act – a pro-law enforcement piece of a larger package that’s expected to receive a vote on the House floor this week.
“Carjackings, theft, violence. Crime is out of control. When Congress took action to stop it in our nation’s capital, even Biden signed on. But not liberals in Congress. They voted against cracking down on criminals,” the moderator in the ad argues. “Now they have a chance to stand with America’s law enforcement. Critical legislation with tough new penalties for assaulting cops. Standing up to the defund the police movement. Tell liberals in Congress to side with law enforcement, not criminals.”
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Besides two spots that will run nationally, AAN is targeting with ads six House Democrats who could face challenging re-elections next year. They are Reps. Chris Deluzio (Pennsylvania 17), Emilia Sykes (Ohio 13), Mary Peltola (Alaska at-large), Gabe Vasquez (New Mexico 2), and Abigail Spanberger (Virginia 7).
“Nearly 175 liberals in Congress sided with criminals over law enforcement by voting to lessen penalties for violent offenders in Washington,” AAN President Dan Conston charged. “Now, Congress has a chance to instead stand up for our men and women in uniform and support new pragmatic legislation that protects law enforcement. Every Member of Congress should vote to back the blue.”
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A Fox News poll conducted earlier this year indicated that nearly nine in 10 Americans were extremely or very concerned about higher crime rates.
Longtime Republican attempts to portray Democrats as “soft on crime” had varying degrees of success in last November’s midterm elections, as many Democrats in front-line House districts pushed back by spotlighting their support from law enforcement.
And national Democrats pushed back on GOP attacks over the issue by pointing out the no votes by House Republicans for a bill passed by the then-Democratic majority in the chamber and signed into law by Biden that increased funding for police.
“Despite their empty rhetoric, the truth is that House Republicans are the ones who have voted for major cuts to law enforcement and who have failed to condemn Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans’ calls to defund the FBI and DOJ,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesperson Courtney Ricke argued. “That couldn’t stand in clearer contrast to House Democrats who have a proven track record of advocating for public safety. In 2022, Democrats made their commitment to public safety clear on the campaign trail, and they will again in 2024.”
Republicans controlled the House majority for eight years before the Democrats won back the chamber in the 2018 midterms. Two years later, in the 2020 elections, the GOP defied expectations and took a big bite out of Democrats’ majority.
The GOP captured the majority in the November 2022 elections, but hopes of a red wave never materialized and the party is holding onto a fragile 222-213 majority. That means Democrats need a net gain of just five seats to win back control of the chamber next year.