WASHINGTON – In another sign of the importance outside groups will play in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District campaign this year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce buying TV ads in support of first-term Republican Chip Cravaack.
“Who’s standing up for Minnesota jobs? Chip Cravaack. He’s fighting for small business,” the ad says.
The Chamber did not disclose the size of the ad buy but it was part of a larger campaign targeting a total of 17 U.S. House races and four Senate races.
Cravaack is expected to face a tough path to re-election. The 8th District has long been considered a DFL stronghold, and Cravaack won a narrow, surprise victory in 2010, unseating longtime DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar.
Outside groups supporting Democrats and Republicans have already been active in the district since last year running ads favoring and opposing Cravaack.
The Chamber traditionally supports Republicans. In recent years, it has become one of Washington’s most powerful outside interest groups, spending $66 million on lobbying in 2011 and also spending aggressively in the 2010 midterm elections. Due to the organization’s nonprofit status, information about companies and organizations giving money to the Chamber is opaque.
“We’re asking constituents to hold their members of Congress accountable for how they vote on the policies that harm economic growth,” Chamber president and CEO Tom Donohue said in a statement announcing the ad campaign.