MCALLEN, Texas – Political pundits say TX-15 is one of the most closely fought congressional races in Texas this election cycle.
However, when it comes to attack ads it is not close at all. Democrat Michelle Vallejo of Alton is facing a barrage of negative commercials on TV, radio, and the Internet, as well as in literature sent in the mail.
One particular GOP-supporting Super PAC is leading the way. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) describes itself as “the cavalry that ensures Republicans win tough races.” So far this election cycle it has pumped $780,207 into negative ads attacking Vallejo.
“We have never seen this much outside money, or dark money, in South Texas before,” said Danny Diaz, political director for community group La Unión Del Pueblo Entero.
“The Super Court’s Citizens United ruling made it easier for Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money to get involved in any federal election and influence that election. That is what we are seeing in the District 15 race.
Diaz pointed out Congressional District 15 became competitive following redistricting.
“The Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the boundary lines during redistricting. So, now it is plus two or plus three Republican. Traditionally it was Democrat. It is now the most competitive congressional seat in the state of Texas.”
Diaz added: “It’s definitely changed the game when you start seeing millions of dollars being pumped in to elections in November. It’s going to readjust just the way that we see politics here.”
Because the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chose not to help Vallejo, her campaign is not being assisted with negative ads against her Republican challenger, Monica De La Cruz.
Here is the script of one of CLF’s attack ads against Vallejo. It paints her as dangerous for South Texas.
“No borders, no enforcement, just anarchy. Dangerous ideas, Michelle Vallejo gave them a platform, hosting a border resistance event at her family business and artist artwork calls to smash ICE. She even promoted a benefit concert for the no borders movement. Join us for the fun she wrote. The border is the only thing keeping us from cartel chaos. Keep Michelle Vallejo far from Congress. Congressional Leadership Fund is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
It is not just Vallejo that CLF is targeting. It has spent as spent $1,174,728 in attack ads and mail shots against U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Laredo and $913,816 in negative TV spots and mailers against U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez of McAllen.
In the 2022 election cycle, CLF has spent $64,771,600 to date. Around $50 million of this has been spent against Democratic congressional candidates Just over $10 million has been spent for Republican congressional candidates.
The numbers are based on data released by the Federal Election Committee and collated by Open Secrets. Open Secrets, a nonpartisan and independent nonprofit, is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. The group’s mission is to “track the flow of money in American politics and provide the data and analysis to strengthen democracy.”
According to Open Secrets, CLF received 55.66 percent of its money from the finance/insurance/real estate industries, 11.01 percent from the energy/natural resources industries, 10.07 percent from the communications/electronics industries, and 8.81 percent from the agribusiness industry.
Dan Conston, president of CLF, said the super PAC is dedicated exclusively to one goal: winning a Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.
“CLF was founded in 2011 and is the only outside group to have the endorsement of the entire House Republican Leadership. CLF supports Republican candidates for the House of Representatives, and counters the efforts of well-funded left-wing groups seeking to elect liberals to Congress,” CLF’s website states.
“Congressional Leadership Fund consistently ranks among the most successful and well-funded political organizations in the country and has spent more than any other outside group to elect Republican candidates in House races.”
The website goes on to say:
“CLF supports Republican candidates by raising the resources needed to counter the onslaught of advertising from deep-pocketed liberal activists determined to let the radical left take charge of our country. CLF devotes its resources where we can make a decisive impact on election day through mail, television, and digital advertising, as well as voter turn-out programs, polling and messaging research.
Put simply: CLF is the cavalry that ensures Republicans win tough races.”
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