Political notebook

Outside groups pour aid to GOP

October 25, 2010

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OVIEDO, Fla. — The phalanx of anonymously financed conservative groups that have played such a crucial role this campaign year is starting a carefully coordinated final push to deliver control of Congress to Republicans, shifting money among some 80 House races they are monitoring day by day.

Officials involved in the effort over the midterm elections’ final week say it is being spearheaded by a core subset of the largest outside conservative groups, which have millions of dollars left to spend on television advertisements, mailings, and phone calls for five potentially decisive Senate races, as well as the scores of House races.

Bolstered by a surge in last-minute donations and other financial support, outside liberal groups and unions say they are stepping up their response in advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts, but remain largely outgunned by the scale and sophistication of the operation supporting Republican candidates.

A vivid picture of how outside groups are bolstering Republicans across the country can be found in central Florida, where the incumbent Democrat, Representative Suzanne M. Kosmas, once had a nearly three-to-one fund-raising advantage over her Republican challenger, state Representative Sandy Adams.

Until last week, Adams had not run a single campaign commercial. But then a host of outside groups swept in to swamp Kosmas with critical ads.

Many of the conservative groups say they have been trading information through weekly strategy sessions and regular conference calls. They have divided up races to avoid duplication, the groups say, and to ensure that their money is spread around to put Democrats on the defensive in as many districts and states as possible — and, more important, lock in whatever gains they have delivered for the Republicans so far.

“We carpet-bombed for two months in 82 races; now it’s sniper time,’’ said Rob Collins, president of American Action Network, which is one of the leading Republican groups this campaign season.

The coordinating effort is led out of a nondescript office suite just blocks from the White House, where two groups formed with help from Karl Rove — American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — share space with American Action Network, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Working from color-coded master spreadsheets, the conservative groups are closely monitoring polling in 80 House races that they judge crucial to ensuring a Republican majority. Based on those results, the groups have started to place their final advertising bets in ways carefully coordinated to fill openings left by the more financially limited official party and candidate committees. — NEW YORK TIMES

Democrats may feel anger by gay voters on Nov. 2
If Democratic candidates are counting on long-standing support from gay voters to help stave off big losses on Nov. 2, they could be in for a surprise.

Across the country, activists say gay voters are angry — at the lack of progress on issues from eliminating employment discrimination to uncertainty over serving in the military to the economy — and some are choosing to sit out this election or look for other candidates.

In President Obama’s hometown of Chicago, Kate Coatar said she is seriously considering voting for Green Party candidates instead of Democrats, whom she normally supports.

“It’s all talk, and nothing’s happening, and I’m just over it,’’ said Coatar, 62, a church business manager who said she’s as concerned about health care and homelessness as about gay issues. “I don’t know who to vote for and the election is a week away.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS