A pro-Trump nonprofit is pouring $150,000 into digital and TV advertisements in Utah targeting Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams, and his involvement in the impeachment inquiry.
It’s part of the second round of a $2 million nationwide ad campaign by America First Policies, part of a pro-Trump SuperPAC, targeting Democrats in swing districts.
“Our goal with these ads is really to make the impeachment vote as difficult as possible for the Democrats that we’re targeting,” said Cora Mandy, an America First Policies spokeswoman.
The Utah advertisements link McAdams with the more liberal democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
McAdams, who won his seat by just 0.2% in 2018, voted with Democrats to pursue an impeachment inquiry in October. He has said he hasn’t yet made a decision if he’ll vote to impeach. The ads invite viewers to call McAdams’ office to tell him to vote against impeachment.
It’s not clear how effective that will be. Trump only has a 37% approval rating in the 4th Congressional District that McAdams represents, according to a July poll from UtahPolicy.com. But, an October poll from UtahPolicy.com found that voters in the district were split on their support for the impeachment inquiry.
“There’s some limited evidence that contact campaigns can be effective at changing the positions of legislators,” said Geoff Allen, a visiting assistant political science professor at the University of Utah. “And this is one of those instances where there’s going to be a lot of pressure from the party itself to not move against the party lines.”
For now, McAdams is trying to shift the focus to his own legislative priorities.
“Ben is focused on addressing the cost of prescription drugs and our rising national debt,” Andrew Roberts, McAdams’ campaign manager, said in a statement. “What I can tell you is that he’ll make his decision with Utah in mind and no amount of spending from Washington D.C. special interest groups from either party will change that.”