The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee stepped up the attack on Republican Jonathan Paton this week and has so far committed half a million dollars in TV advertising to help former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in her bid to win the seat.
Paton and Kirkpatrick easily secured their parties’ nominations for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District on Aug. 28. They face off this November.
In its first TV ad for the Kirkpatrick-Paton contest, the Democratic committee rehashed the charge that Paton lobbied for the payday loan industry.
DCCC’s ad buy is worth approximately $500,000, the committee said.
The organization, which sees a competitive race in CD1 and in Arizona’s 9th Congressional District, has reserved $2.8 million worth of TV spots in the state.
The TV ad calls Paton a corporate lobbyist who defended the payday loan industry’s “predatory targeting of seniors” and who, as a legislator, defended a ballot measure to “bail out” the industry.
“He profits. We pay the price,” the ad declares.
Paton’s campaign didn’t refute the TV commercial’s charge.
But in an email, campaign spokesman Barrett Marson shot back, saying the TV commercial is meant to distract voters from Kirkpatrick’s support for President Barack Obama’s “failed” programs.
“It’s no surprise that Ann Kirkpatrick’s Democrat allies in Washington are doing everything possible to distract from her support for the failed Obama record,” Marson said.
DCCC’s attack isn’t new. Democrats also hammered Paton about his ties to the payday loan industry during the 2010 congressional race in southern Arizona.
Paton lost the GOP primary to party mate Jesse Kelly that year while then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords rebuffed Kelly in the general election.
Paton was a lobbyist for the Community Financial Services Association, the payday loan industry’s trade group, in 2004.
In 2008, he supported Prop. 200, an industry-backed proposal to continue payday lending. Voters rejected the proposition, and payday lending in Arizona ended in 2010.
Tying Kirkpatrick to the president is a recurring theme for Paton’s campaign.
“Jonathan is an Iraq veteran who once represented a charity that put money back into the community through scholarships to Arizona students. That’s a real contrast to Kirkpatrick’s record of rubber-stamping ObamaCare and the trillion-dollar stimulus,” Marson said.
In an email this morning, the Republican cited the latest labor report, which showed anemic job growth, to drive home his point.
“The Obama-Kirkpatrick economy is simply not working, and Ann Kirkpatrick can’t answer a basic question: Where are the jobs?” Paton said.
The tepid economy added 96,000 jobs in August, which is far below expectations.
Actually, the unemployment rate fell – to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent.
But economists surmised that was because many people stopped searching for work.