A nonprofit controlled by allies of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is spending $500,000 on radio ads backing Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, an early cash injection bucking up one of the most vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in 2018.
Majority Forward is paying for the ads, which will air statewide over the next four weeks. Majority Forward is affiliated with Senate Majority PAC, the main super PAC that supports Senate Democrats. The ads are the first from either group aimed at the 2018 elections, when 10 Senate Democrats are up for reelection in states President Donald Trump carried last fall.
Trump won Missouri by more than 18 percentage points, racking up large margins in the state’s rural counties. The new ad from Majority Forward touts McCaskill for promoting and protecting rural hospitals, echoing recent messaging from McCaskill. The ads emphasize her father’s work in agriculture and that she grew up in small towns.
"Today, hospitals in rural Missouri are in crisis. Nearly half are at risk of shutting down. That’s why Sen. Claire McCaskill is fighting back," a narrator says in the 60-second ad. "A daughter of rural Missouri, Claire McCaskill’s determined to protect rural health care. Born in Rolla, raised in the small towns of Houston and Lebanon, Missouri, her father worked at the local feed mill. Her mother’s family ran the corner drug store."
McCaskill has been an early magnet for outside spending: The GOP super PAC Senate Leadership Fund is already running digital ads slamming McCaskill for her vote against Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
GOP Rep. Ann Wagner, state Attorney General Josh Hawley and several other Republicans are considering bids against McCaskill.
Senate Majority PAC and Majority Forward have been quiet since the 2016 elections, when both groups spent millions on Democrats’ failed effort to take control of the Senate. Schumer reorganized the group, with former DSCC executive director JB Poersch taking control of the operation. Susan McCue and Rebecca Lambe, two top allies of former Minority Leader Harry Reid, are staying on as outside advisers.