Concerned 'voters' in GOP Senate ads are actually just actors


The same actors appear in attacks ads placed in Maine, Kansas, and Iowa.

Two Republican super PACs are running ads for U.S. Senate races in Kansas, Maine, and Iowa that all feature the same actors expressing concern about issues in their supposed states.

Democratic candidate Barbara Bollier, who is running against GOP Rep. Roger Marshall, and who is the target of the Kansas ads, tweeted out a video of the two pairs of actors on Sunday, blasting the PACs' use of recycled characters.

“Mitch McConnell’s allies have poured $25+ million into our race. And that can buy a lot — but apparently not new actors. Or maybe he and the D.C. elite just can't find Kansans (or Iowans) who agree with their talking points," Bollier wrote, referring to the Senate Leadership Fund — a Republican PAC founded by allies of the Senate majority leader, which was behind two of the ads.

One of the spots in question is a Kansas ad by American Crossroads, a PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. It  features an actress saying, "Barbara Bollier seems really nice. She says she's middle of the road, but her policy positions are just not mine."

Another ad in Iowa from the Senate Leadership Fund features the same actress.

The ad, which attacks Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield, who is facing off with incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst in November, shows that actress saying, "Families across Iowa are struggling with this economy, with the pandemic. Keeping our health care is crucial. ... But the Theresa Greenfield-Nancy Pelosi health care plan could take away our employer-provided health insurance."

A third ad, this one in Maine features the actress as well. "We can’t trust [Sen. Susan Collins's Democratic opponent] Sara Gideon," she says.

The two political action committees often work closely together, according to the New York Times.

In a separate ad paid for by the Senate Leadership Fund, an actor is shown questioning whether Bollier is "independent."

That same actor appeared in another ad in Iowa — this time paid for by American Crossroads — giving a misleading representation of Greenfield's business record. "Seriously?" he says. "Theresa Greenfield literally signed notices to kick Iowa small businesses to the curb, to bring in a big chain store."

As HuffPost notes, "None of the ads are sanctioned by the Republican campaigns they seek to boost."

The ads come as no surprise to experts on those races. Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts (R), who is retiring after four terms, noted that the GOP groups appear to be spending millions to help offset Bollier's record fundraising. According to the Associated Press, those groups have already spent $6 million on ads to aid Marshall's campaign alone.

“It’s indicative of where we are. He's getting outspent 3-1," said Roberts. Marshall and Bollier, both physicians, are vying for his soon-to-be-vacant seat.

Bollier, a retired anesthesiologist, shattered quarterly records when her campaign raised $13.5 million between July and September. To date, she has raised more than $24 million, four times as much as Marshall, who has raised just under $6 million, according to Open Secrets.

The ad spending also comes as Democrats target those same races, infusing them with loads of cash in last-minute ad buys.

As the Associated Press notes, Democratic groups have spent $3.5 million against Collins over the past few weeks, and more than $1 million against Ernst as well, even as GOP groups scramble to dump money into those regions.

Experts from both parties say there are still undecided voters to turn this election.

"It’s a folly to assume these races won’t be competitive right through Election Day," said J.B. Poersch, president of the Democratic Senate Majority PAC.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.