UPDATED: Coming to a TV near you: Congressional attack ads

UPDATED: Coming to a TV near you: Congressional attack ads

WASHINGTON — The political action committee of the conservative Club for Growth is pouring an estimated $275,000 in broadcast and cable television advertising into the Republican primary race in the 15th Congressional District, beginning Friday.

The group is spending $28,200 at WCIA-TV, channel 3, buying mostly news shows.

It is spending $15,937 at WAND-TV, channel 17, on news shows, "Jeopardy," and "Wheel of Fortune."

And it is spending $15,529 at WTHI-TV in Terre Haute, a station that reaches into several Illinois counties in the 15th District.

The Club for Growth ad attacks incumbent U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, and uses about five of its 30 seconds to mention Kyle McCarter, the state senator from Lebanon who is challenging Shimkus in the congressional district that includes the rural parts of Champaign County, a small part of Ford County and all of Vermilion, Douglas, Coles, Edgar and dozens of other eastern and southern Illinois counties.

"Check out Kyle McCarter," the spot advises. "Businessman, conservative. McCarter knows the country's in trouble, and a guy who's been in DC twenty years ain't gonna fix it."

The spot, which Club for Growth spokesman Doug Sachtleben said will run for two weeks, hits Shimkus for breaking a pledge to term-limit himself and for voting "for higher taxes and trillions in new debt."

The ad claims that Shimkus is "one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress."

It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7koQhX_5CqQ&feature=youtu.be

But the group's own scorecard, posted on its website, said his career voting record is 66 percent, and that three other Illinois Republicans — Rodney Davis, Adam Kinzinger and former Rep. Aaron Schock — had lower ratings, as well as dozens of other House Republicans.

Shimkus' 2014 score was 34 percent, the Club for Growth said.

"Twenty years in Washington has a way of turning some Republicans into establishment sell-outs who represent their party leaders better than their constituents back home," said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. "Years ago, John Shimkus became a reliable vote for debt-busting spending bills and the big-government agenda of Washington Republicans."

The Club for Growth PAC also is running TV ads in two other districts, Sachtleben said, Ohio's 8th District and North Carolina's 2nd District. All three races will be decided in March 15 primary elections.

Although the Club for Growth is opposing Shimkus, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Wednesday he is supporting the 10-term congressman.

"He was one of my best allies in getting me elected. He's a principled conservative," Rauner said. "He has been a superstar for our party."

Meanwhile, the National Right to Life Committee is endorsing Shimkus.

In its endorsement, the group told Shimkus he had "consistently voted in favor of life and you are to be commended for your unwavering commitment to the cause of life."

"I am honored to have the support of this strong, pro-family, conservative organization," said Shimkus. "I am proud of my record of voting to defund Planned Parenthood and voting for pro-life and pro-family policies. I will always fight to protect life."

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