Organizations associated with prominent Republican strategist Karl Rove plan to spend $120 million to defeat Democrats in the 2012 elections, according to Sen. Barbara Boxer.
A former top aide to President George W. Bush, Rove helped form such groups as American Crossroads and American Crossroads GPS, which spent heavily on negative political attack ads against congressional Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections.
“Take it from me: I know first-hand the extremes Republicans are willing to go to win,” Boxer (D-Calif.) says in a fundraising email for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). “They threw everything but the kitchen sink at me in 2010 – and they will have even more money to fund their attacks this time.”
Boxer last year defeated Republican businesswoman Carly Fiorina in what was an expensive, hard-fought re-election race. Boxer is the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The negative attacks helped defeat record numbers of Democrats in 2010, which swung the House of Representatives to GOP control and narrowed the Democrats’ majority in the Senate.
The Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision in early 2010 swept away decades of bipartisan limits on election spending by corporations and groups such as Rove’s, which Boxer acknowledges. “Because of the Citizens United decision, corporations will again be able to give unlimited secret donations to influence our elections,” Boxer says of the 2012 elections which will decide both whether to re-elect President Obama, as well as control of both the House and Senate.
Democrats will rely on donations from grassroots supporters to counter major Republican spending, Boxer says. The DSCC seeks to raise $156,233 by Thursday to fill its coffers ahead of a Federal Elections Commission deadline, Boxer says.
“Every time the right wing came after me during the last election, I knew I could count on the DSCC to help me fight back,” Boxer says in her email. “I truly couldn’t have won in November without the DSCC’s support.”
Senate Democrats must defend 23 seats in 2012, compared to just 10 for Republicans, Boxer notes. If Republicans pick up four of those, Democrats will lose their Senate majority. Senate Democrats now refer to their majority as a “firewall” against policies approved by the GOP-held House.
Scott Nance is the publisher of the news site The Washington Current, formerly known as On The Hill. He has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.