The Koch Brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity is going for broke to put an end to Rep. Renee Ellmers’ career in Washington. She has lost touch with her constituency though it’s doubtful she ever was in touch.
The group has field workers in the Raleigh suburbs letting people know that Ellmers votes over and over for DC crony capitalism. It’s something they have never done before against an incumbent Republican.
When Ellmers backed the Import-Export bank, they had had enough. The bank gives government low-interest loans to crony corporations who don’t need them.
“This is someone who claimed to be a conservative leader,” said AFP’s president, Tim Phillips, explaining the decision to single out Ellmers among so many other House Republicans who have voted for the same bills.
“And when you looked at her record on government spending and cronyism … it’s just not true.”
This could be the beginning of the end for comfortable Republicans who go along to get along and don’t do what they were sent to Congress to do.
Her campaign aide said she voted for the 2013 budget deal because it funded the military. She voted for the Ex-Im Bank because it allegedly saved jobs in her district. She voted to subsidize green energy because she supports an all energy policy. He claims she is beholding to no one and votes for her district.
AFP is launching a six-figure digital ad and direct mail campaign against Ellmers but the ground game is where the real danger lies for Ellmers – they workers – all from the area – are knocking on thousands of doors. They will make contact with nearly every Republican or potential Republican before the primary.
Ellmers hasn’t just alienated Libertarians, conservatives in general have problems with her since she unseated a Democrat in 2010. She voted against a bill that would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks though it contained exceptions such as for rape, and she opposed repealing President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
Her rating from the American Conservative Union last year was only 72 percent — the lowest of the nine Republicans in the North Carolina House delegation. Her district has grown more conservative with redistricting and is now rated solidly Republican, so electoral vulnerability is not an explanation.
Foreign workers holding H-2B visas will climb to over 250,000 in 2016 thanks to Ellmers and other supporters bought by the campaign contributions of the cheap labor lobby.
Economist Frank Roche wants to unseat her over her support of the secret trade bill. A review of simple trade data demonstrates that fast-track authority has been a “net loss to the United States.”
“This is not about exports, but net exports,” said Roche. “We’re already getting crushed by China in trade; there’s not much more China can do to damage us; they’ve already got full power over us in this area. We’re already a net loser to all Asian exporters, and have been for decades.”
Roche described the GOP leadership and President Obama who are pushing the trade deal as “feckless.”
It won’t be easy to unseat an incumbent and there are no good polls to judge the success they may or may not be having in branding her as a crony. Her top primary challenger, a former county GOP chair named Jim Duncan, is neck and neck with her in fundraising. And another challenger, former North Carolina GOP spokeswoman Kay Daly, just aired an ad in which she blows Ellmers away with a shotgun.
The bank she voted for: