Spending on political advertising has surged to new records this midterm cycle. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates it will top $5 billion by Election Day.
One of the costliest individual races in terms of advertising is right here in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, where attack ads have flooded the airwaves.
In a final ad by a Republican PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, targets Democratic candidate Kim Schrier for comments she made during primary season.
"Schrier supports an energy tax, raising utility bills; she supports raising the gas tax too,” the voiceover says. “Schrier even supports a new state income tax.”
At a Democratic candidate forum ahead of Washington’s August primary, Schrier expressed support for the carbon fee initiative on the ballot this fall.
The ad also references a candidate questionnaire in which Schrier wrote, "We need to address our regressive tax system, and move toward a progressive income tax,” in Washington State.
However, neither issue is something members of Congress would decide. Instead, it’s a matter for Washington state lawmakers or voters to decide.
Schrier took to social media to rebut the tax attacks, which include an ad from her opponent Dino Rossi.
"You've probably seen the attack ads,” Schrier says in a video post. “I will never create a state income tax; I do not support a 57-cent gas tax, and I will not repeal tax cuts for the middle class.”
In an ad by the Rossi campaign, Schrier is dubbed “Dr. Tax” and linked to a “full government takeover of health care.”
“It comes complete with a $32 trillion price tag,” the ad says referencing the Medicare for All proposal backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Schrier has expressed support for moving toward Medicare for all but has pushed her own proposal of allowing individuals to buy into a public health care option, detailed on her campaign website.
Health care is also the focus on a new ad by the House Majority PAC, a Democratic committee.
“In Olympia Rossi sided with big drug companies stalling a bill to lower drug prices, and Rossi voted against a plan requiring state health plans to buy cheaper generic prescription drugs,” says the voice over.
This ad references a state bill from 2002 that Rossi opposed. However, that same bill passed the Senate that year and died in the Democratic-controlled State House.
The ad ends by citing past articles in which Rossi expressed support for repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Rossi has evaded answering directly whether he would have voted for the Republican-led repeal and replace effort that passed the House last year and died in the Senate. However, he’s criticized the Affordable Care Act and advocated for increasing market competition in the health care system.
During last month’s debate Schrier accused accused Rossi of wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a better replacement.
“He supports dismantling the Affordable Care Act and taking away protections for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Schrier.
“I’ve been very clear all along that we have to do something about pre-existing conditions even if it’s a subsidized high-risk pool,” countered Rossi.