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Ending Spending PAC has been on the air in Georgia hitting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, but the group does not limit its antipathy to Democrats: It's now attacking Rep. Phil Gingrey.
The group, funded by Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, has bought $1.3 million in ad time between now and the May 20 primary. We assumed this was all to bash Nunn, but that is not the case.
The ad is airing in Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and Savannah, according to a media buy report passed along by a tipster. It accuses Gingrey, a Marietta Republican, of such Washington sins as requesting earmarks and voting to increase the debt limit, and it brings back a closed-door remark from September that was bound to rear its head at some point: "I'm stuck here making $172,000 a year," Gingrey said, while staffers whose health insurance subsidy was on the line can cash out as lobbyists in a couple years.
The Ending Spending ad comes as Gingrey -- sitting on more $2 million at the beginning of the year -- announces he's back up on the air with his ad pledging to repeal Obamacare or go home after one term. He's bought time through primary day.
The Gingrey camp, interestingly, compared the conservative group's attack to something from the left. From campaign manager Patrick Sebastian:
"This attack on Rep. Gingrey is a clear indication his establishment opponents see that he's on-the-move, and is the most viable conservative in the race.
"The attacks on conservative Republicans like Phil Gingrey from this special interest group are straight out of Barack Obama’s liberal playbook. Georgians will not let these Chicago-style tactics on leaders who have proven records in cutting spending, protecting our military and veterans, and fighting Obamacare stop them from supporting conservative Republicans like Phil Gingrey.
"Twice named most conservative member of Congress, Phil has fought to reduce the debt, cut the deficit, cap spending, balance the budget, and -- throughout his time in D.C. -- has returned more than $1.4 million of his personal office's funds to the U.S. Treasury.
"It’s telling that this shadowy group would attack Phil's fight to stop Congress' Obamacare exemptions. Phil believes members of Congress and their staff’s should have to live under the laws they create. That’s why he introduced the 'No Special Treatment for Congress Act,' which reverses the federal taxpayer subsidies intended for members of Congress and their staffs."