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Koch Machine Pulls The Plug In Oregon

Senator Jeff Merkley's challenger doesn't seem to be bringing the deliverables to justify big October ad buys.
Koch Machine Pulls The Plug In Oregon

Welp. It seems that the Koch machine isn't feeling too confident about their chances in Oregon, so they've pulled the plug on a big ad buy there for the month of October.

The Register-Guard reports:

Freedom Partners’ super PAC, the Virginia-based group affiliated with oil and gas magnates Charles and David Koch, confirmed today that it has canceled all the television ad time it had reserved in October to influence Oregon’s U.S. Senate race.

Freedom Partners’ non-profit affiliate has strongly criticized incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in TV ads throughout August, providing a big outside boost to the campaign of GOP challenger Monica Wehby.

Freedom Partners spokesman Bill Riggs declined to provide the exact size of the October airtime reservation it was canceling, but it was expected to total at least $1 million.

Riggs also declined to provide a specific reason for the pullback. He said Freedom Partners, which is spending money on a number of other congressional races, is “constantly re-evaluating” its expenditures and could ultimately get buy back into the race in October. Doing so then would be more expensive for them, however, as early reservations for television ad buys come at discounted rates.

Riggs added that “other groups could jump in” the race in Freedom Partners’ place.

Freedom Partners is still committed to a $1.6 million television ad campaign in a number of Oregon media markets this month. Its latest commercial points to the $7 trillion increase in the federal debt during Merkley’s time in U.S. Congress.

The cancellation wasn’t the only bad news for the Wehby campaign on Friday. Rasmussen Reports released its latest poll for the race which found Wehby remains 13 percentage points behind Merkley. The poll, of 750 likely voters, was conducted this week.

This follows a similar cancellation in Michigan, where they pulled a big ad buy for hand-picked candidate Terri-Lynn Land in August. Land trails Democrat by about 4 points right now.

But don't get cocky. Just because the Kochs pulled out doesn't mean others aren't filling the void. Joe Ricketts is stepping up in Michigan. I'm sure there are others who will do so in Oregon. Gee, I'm sure glad there's no coordination going on.


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One of the dangers of putting the spotlight on the Kochs, even though it's richly deserved, is that it gives the false sense of confidence that if they pull their support, others will too. I don't believe that. I think they're just making space for other billionaires to step in.

They can buy the airwaves, but they can't buy your vote. Just do it.

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