Why 60 Plus Matters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 11 2010 2:18 PM

Why 60 Plus Matters

While I don't think that voters care who's funding various ads, those ads are really not given their due by the political press. For every Christine O'Donnell ad that plays in Delaware and is repeated on cable all day, hundreds of 501(c)4 ads and 527 ads play in swing seats.

Here's Exhibit A. John McCormack notices that Rep. Ron Kind's (D-Wisc.) re-election, which I plan to cover later this month, has been downgraded by Cook. Why?

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As statewide races have deteriorated for Democrats, this usually sleepyWestern Wisconsin district has become a tantalizing target for GOPoutside groups, including the 60 Plus Association, which has purchased$565,000 in ad time (that goes quite a long way in Eau Claire and LaCrosse) to blast Kind for voting for health care reform. GOP stateSenator Dan Kapanke, who has won two elections in Kind’sDemocratic-leaning home base of La Crosse, has steadily raised $684,000over the course of the cycle and is hitting Kind on spending andparty-line votes.

Read those numbers again: 60 Plus has spent 83 percent as much as Kapanke has spent on his entire campaign . That's the kind of under-the-radar money that turns a safe seat into a sleeper.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.