Under Attack: The GOP Advertising Assault on Swing State Dems

Under Attack: The GOP Advertising Assault on Swing State Dems

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As the 2020 election results continue to roll in, it is clear that despite Democrats’ success at the top of the ticket, some Republican attacks hit home down-ballot, denying Democrats the Senate and propelling losses in the House. Republicans hammered Democrats on a few key issues: tax increases, socialized medicine, defunding the police, supporting climate policies like the Green New Deal that would hurt the oil and gas industry, as well as generally being too liberal and controlled by the liberal establishment in Washington. While most of the candidates running in these competitive seats did not support Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, defunding the police, or other far-left policy ideas or bumper stickers, the ads repeatedly told voters that people who supported and bankrolled these candidates do. As much as many of the candidates in swing states and districts tried to paint themselves as independent and eager to work with anyone, Republicans were able to overwhelm too many of them by tying them back to Washington liberals and unpopular far-left tag lines.

Below are the publicly available attack ads that were run against competitive Democratic Senate candidates, Frontline Democratic House Members, and competitive Red-to-Blue House candidates who lost their races. The Red-to-Blue candidates included here were rated “Tossup” or “Lean-D” by the Cook Political Report, or they were in districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 or that Joe Biden carried in 2020.  


Maine – Sara Gideon

Taxes: Who Is It?

Taxes & Economy: No Big Deal

Guns (Radio Ad): Proud Tradition

Defund the Police: Defund

Corporate Money: Hypocrisy

Sexual misconduct cover-up: Power

Corona stimulus money hypocrisy: Independent

South Carolina – Jaime Harrison

Defund the Police: Crazy to Me

China: Too Close to China

Swamp: Part of the DC Swamp

Experience and Too Liberal: Come On

DC Liberal Lobbyist, Supreme Court: What else?

Outside liberal money: Don’t Let Liberals Buy South Carolina and Cashopoly

Nancy Pelosi, Liberal, Late term abortion, health care for undocumented: Left Out

North Carolina – Cal Cunningham

Affair: Hypocrisy

Affair and Veterans: Code

Judges: Joe Biden’s Judges

Defund the police, economy: Save Our Economy & Defend Law Enforcement

Taxes: Wallet

Montana – Steve Bullock

Health care and taxes: Health care

Guns: Second Amendment

Defund the Police and Socialism: Sheriff Shane

Far Left: Gov Controlled Health Care, Carbon Tax, Sanctuary Cities, Guns, Taxes: Far Left

China, Taxes, Jobs: Ed

Corruption: Oh Brother

Sexual harassment and unequal pay for women: Even Darker

Iowa – Theresa Greenfield

Failed business woman: Phony

Out of state money, liberal, border crossings, gov controlled health care: Seventy Million

Economy, jobs, small business, health care: Pain

Defund the police: Out of Control and Stop Them

China, Jobs, Environmental Regulations: Cost Your Family

Kansas – Barbara Bollier

Court packing: Bad Idea

Gov controlled health care, taxes: With Them

House – Frontline Members

NM-02 – Xochitl Torres Small

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi and Squad: Slick AdsJust Votes, and Easy

Votes with Pelosi and supported impeachment: AnyoneImpeachment

Higher taxes: Biden

Bad for oil and gas industry: Oil and gasLCV Backs XTS

Supports gun control, bad for oil and gas industry: Stop

Supports gun control: Posing

FL-27 – Donna Shalala

COVID stock transactions: Donna Shalala Broke the Law and Can't Be TrustedFive Dollars

OK-5 – Kendra Horn

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi and Squad: Not as advertisedProxy vote for Nancy Pelosi

Bad for oil and gas industry: Time after TimeGood GameWhole LifeTradition

Taxpayer funded abortion: Kendra Horn Supports Taxpayer-Funded Abortion

FL-26 – Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

Corruption: Clouds of suspicion, FamiliarWarlord

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi and Squad: The Choice

MN-7 – Collin Peterson

Allowing partisan impeachment to continue: Impeachment

Votes with Nancy Pelosi and Squad: Defeat Collin PetersonNeuteredBandwagon

Corrupt, charged taxpayers for travel: Auto

SC-1 – Joe Cunningham

Hypocrite and liar, taking money from lobbyists and oil and gas: Slick

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi and Squad: PromisesGetting WorseRedGlowSell ItBetterActingNada

Higher taxes: Formula, Sell It

Supreme Court: Court

Energy agreement with China hurting American jobs: Jobs

IA-1 – Abby Finkenauer

Supports socialist healthcare, will hurt rural hospitals and raise taxes: How much is your life worthOur Towns127

Corrupt: Personal

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi and Squad, supported impeachment: FocusDirections

NY-11 – Max Rose

Defund the Police: DefundA Billion Reasons

Partisan liberal, votes with Pelosi: Puppet Strings

NY-22 – Anthony Brindisi

Not supporting law enforcement: In Danger

Too liberal, votes with Pelosi: Our PartTotal DisasterMade it ClearLiedWilling to reachAnyone but Trump

CA-48 – Harley Rouda

His business discriminated against older and sick people, now supports socialized medicine: In the Business

His business didn’t pay taxes, but Rouda wants to raise taxes: TaxesShell Game

His business outsourced American jobs to China: Shady

CA-39 – Gil Cisneros

Voted for Pelosi after saying he wouldn’t, votes with Pelosi: Gil Cisneros CavedDeceived

House – Red to Blue Candidates

TX-23 – Gina Ortiz-Jones

Supports taxpayer-funded sex changes: Not the time

Partisan liberal, votes with Nancy Pelosi and Squad, hurting oil and gas jobs with Green New Deal: Voices of San FranciscoDeath sentence

NY-24 – Dana Balter

Medicare for All: Have to pay

Protested killing of Soleimani: Bartlett

Supports bail reform: White VanAward

AR-02 – Joyce Elliott

Defund the police: Joke

Higher taxes, bad for economy: SideNever StopBad Enough

Taxpayer-funded abortion: Radio ad

AZ-06 – Hiral Tipirneni

Higher taxes, supporting loans to China: Geography

Standing with Pelosi, supporting loans to China: Like a Boss

Green New Deal, will destroy energy jobs: Bad Deal

IL-13 – Betsy Londrigan

Support from corrupt Jim Madigan: His HeartLessonWalls

IN-05 – Christina Hale

Defund the Police: Radical Agenda

Backed by special interests in DC and China: ChinaGuess Again

Higher taxes: By the DozenGuess Who

MI-03 – Hillary Scholten

Too liberal: ScholtenStand

Sanctuary cities, open borders: Dangerously Liberal

MN-01 – Dan Feehan

Supports money to Iran, funding terrorism: Terrorism

Votes with Pelosi and the Squad, will destroy health care: Pretender

Medicare for All: Bad Prescription

Defund the Police: Talk is Cheap

Supports raising taxes: Can’t Afford It

MO-02 – Jill Schupp

Medicare for All: M4ALLLying

Soft on crime: Crime

Too liberal, supports socialist healthcare, taxes, gun control, abortion: How Liberal

Ineffective partisan: IneffectiveRemember

Higher taxes: A Lot

Corrupt: Our Money

NE-02 – Kara Eastman

Defund the Police: Dangerous

Liberal: SteakExtremistNightmarePennies

Medicare for All: Trust

NJ-02 – Amy Kennedy

Partisan Liberal, will raise taxes: SmartphonePlan

OH-01 – Kate Schroder

Higher taxes and Green New Deal: Need to KnowGroceriesTotallyNoticeSpecial

PA-10 – Eugene DePasquale

Corrupt campaign contributions: BirdsEducationValuesDirty HandsFollow the Money

Made it easier for lawyers to bankrupt businesses: Bankrupt

Medicare for All, Green New Deal, Defund the Police: M4ALL

TX-10 – Mike Siegel

Defund the Police and abolish prisons: Dangerous

TX-21 – Wendy Davis

Corrupt: HomelessInterruptionConflictsSelfish

Tax increases and loans to China: Bad Loans

Defund the Police: Fairytales

TX-22 – Sri Kulkarni

Socialist health care, will raise taxes: Lone Star LeaderFor AllReckless

VA-05 – Cameron Webb

Defund the Police: He Means ItOwn WordsRadical Left

TX-24 – Candace Valenzuela

Radical liberal plans, defund the police: AffordDangerous

Extreme on Immigration: Extreme Agenda: abolish ICE, weaken border, defund police


While these candidates ran strong campaigns, the election results showed that many of the ad nauseum attacks portraying them as part of the liberal establishment and supporting policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, defunding the police, and raising taxes ultimately succeeded. It will be up to Democrats to look back at these attacks and shore up their defenses so they are less vulnerable in 2022.

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