Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester has taken to the Internet in his re-election campaign, running an advertisement attacking his challenger, Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont; on web pages browsed throughout the state.
The ad claims Rehberg supports “unlimited, undisclosed election spending by big corporations, ” and adds that, “Big corporations support Dennis Rehberg … already spending over $1,000,000 on his behalf, ” and offers a link to Tester’s campaign website where it lists votes and advertisements it says support the claim.
Rehberg’s campaign responds by calling the ad “hypocritical, ” saying Tester has benefited with more than $1 million in spending by third-party groups, and citing an offer Rehberg made for both candidates to return all out-of-state money contributed to their campaigns.
“Denny offered Senator Tester a simple, tough proposal to remove all outside spending and influence and make this a truly made-in-Montana race, but, unfortunately, Senator Tester rejected it because he refuses to part with the large sum of money he’s taken from K Street lobbyists and out-of-state special interests, ” campaign spokesman Chris Bond said Thursday.
Bond also cited third-party ads run by groups like the Montana Wildlife Federation with members who are directly involved with Tester in groups like his Sportsmen’s Caucus advisory group.
Tester’s campaign spokesman Aaron Murphy said this morning that he disputes those figures, and that he believes the Rehberg campaign is including every advertisement that mentions Tester or Rehberg, rather than looking at television ads that specifically attack or support their candidacy.
He said the information Tester’s campaign has tracked to date shows nearly $1.4 million in ads benefiting Rehberg paid for by the Crossroads GPS super-PAC, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and Concerned Women for America.
The ads benefiting Tester have totalled almost $514,000 from Montana Hunters and Anglers Action, the Montana Wildlife Federation, Partners to Protect Medicare and the Patriot Majority, Murphy said.
He added that while groups spending money advertising in support of Tester may have members associated with the senator, those are Montana people with known jobs and addresses.
“That’s the huge difference. One is a Montana organization concerned about Rehberg’s policies, especially when it comes to hunting and land management, ” Murphy said. “We have no idea who is funding Crossroads GPS. You can’t compare the two. ”
Background information provided by Bond said part of the hypocrisy is Tester benefiting from more than $330,000 in advertising by the Electronic Payments Coalition, “rewarding Tester for carrying their swipe fee legislation in the Senate. ”
Murphy said ads from a banking organization thanking Tester for helping their cause does not compare to Crossroads GPS or the U. S. Chamber running attack ads against him.
“We think that we ought to stick to the ads that specifically attack both candidates, because that’s what the issue is here, ” Murphy said. “If you do that, our number stands, their number goes way down. ”