Democrat Kate Marshall took the first swing in her new TV attack ad against Mark Amodei, her GOP opponent in the Sept. 13 special U.S. House election.
Republicans plan to quickly answer with a heavy hit on Marshall starting Friday. The National Republican Campaign Committee bought $225,000 in TV airtime on both cable and broadcast stations and plan to run the commercials for two weeks, an NRCC official confirmed Thursday.
In Marshall's first TV ad against Amodei that started airing Thursday, she reminds voters the former state senator in 2003 sponsored a $1 billion tax hike plan.
Amodei's first three TV ads have not mentioned Marshall. Instead, he has criticized Congress, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and President Barack Obama on the economy and U.S. debt.
Republicans, meantime, have slammed Marshall, who is state treasurer, for allowing Nevada to lose $50 million in investments when Lehman Bros., the Wall Street bank, failed in 2008. The ads could pick up the theme as Marshall runs as a fiscal conservative who says she has cut costs and saved the state money under her watch.
The TV ad war comes about a month before early voting starts in the race to fill U.S. Rep. Dean Heller's GOP seat. He resigned to take a U.S. Senate appointment. The stakes are high for both political parties. A Democrat has never won the 2nd Congressional District, which covers all of GOP-leaning Northern and rural Nevada and a bit of Clark County. If Marshall won, it would be a major repudiation of GOP budget-cutting policies in Washington. And if Amodei holds the seat, it will be touted as a victory against the Democratic Party machine.
Marshall, in anticipation of the coming GOP ad attack, sent an email fundraising appeal to supporters Thursday morning.
She said she had "just got word that big inside Washington Republican groups" would spend $171,000 in TV ad buys "attacking me!" (The figure may have been based on early buys.)
"We must immediately raise rapid response funds to make sure we can go toe-to-toe in the final stretch," Marshall said in her fundraising email.
She said she needed to immediately raise $15,000 before next Thursday's deadline to buy airtime. "My Republican opponent may have his fat cat cronies to keep him on the air but I'm depending on grassroots supporters like you to help me. Even just a small gift today can go a long way in helping me cross the finish line."
She asked for contributions of $25, $50 or more.
Marshall has proven a strong fundraiser so far, raising twice as much as Amodei. She had more than $200,000 cash on hand on June 30, while Amodei had about half that.