Washington — A Democratic Super PAC heavily backed by labor spent $200,000 Wednesday to purchase air time in Connecticut for an attack ad aimed at state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a Republican candidate for the open 5th Congressional District seat.
The Patriotic Majority USA PAC plans to run an ad called “No Friend” to bash Roraback, even before the Tuesday primary determines who the GOP candidate will be in the general election in November.
“Democrats realize no other Republican in the race can win the general election,” Roraback said Wednesday night.
The other Republicans in the race are Justin Bernier, Lisa Wilson-Foley and Mark Greenberg.
The Patriotic Majority PAC is headed by Craig Varoga, a Democratic strategist who worked on the campaigns of former President Bill Clinton and former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack. Varoga declined to comment on the anti-Roraback expenditure.
The PAC is an independent expenditure fund, which means it cannot coordinate its spending with any candidate or campaign. A Connecticut official with the Service Employees International Union, one of the funders of the PAC, said state union officials were not consulted.
Roraback said the PAC’s funders are likely allies of House Speaker Christopher Donovan, a Democratic candidate for the 5th District seat, who is heavily backed by labor, including the SEIU, the National Education Association and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.
“Given Chris Donovan’s track record so far in this campaign, it would not surprise me if the Democrats who are trying to bring me down are the Democrats who are trying to stand (Donovan) up,” Roraback said.
Gabe Rosenberg, spokesman for the Donovan campaign, said, “We have nothing to do with these ads.
“The next thing you know, Roraback will be blaming Chris for the fluoride in his drinking water,” Rosenberg said. “Roraback is clearly worried about facing Chris in November.”
Roraback said the Patriotic Majority PAC may be trying to help another Democrat in the race, Dan Roberti.
The Patriotic Majority PAC was formed in 2005 to help Democratic Senate candidates. This appears to be the first time it has been involved in a House race.
“Patriot Majority has been around for seven years,” Varoga said in an email. “We have a very well defined, multi-year, bipartisan primary purpose, which is to work on economic solutions and encourage job creation throughout the United States.”
But he offered no insight as to why a labor-backed PAC would target one of four GOP candidates.
“We recently began a national online campaign — www.YouDontMatter.org —targeting billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson for spending hundreds of millions of dollars to advance their special interests at the expense of firefighters, police officers and children,” he said.
Patriot Majority is one of three super PACs making independent expenditures in the 5th District.
New Directions for America has filed reports indicating it will be spending more than $400,000 on behalf of Roberti, while Women Vote!, a super PAC associated with Emily’s List, is spending $257,448.30 on TV ads promoting Esty. The group previously spent $60,000 on mail criticizing Donovan.