GOP-aligned group’s ads aim to help Walberg, Bishop

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau
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Washington — A Republican-aligned political group is spending $1 million to tout the GOP tax overhaul in new ads to help incumbents in 26 U.S. House districts, including two Michigan seats held by Reps. Tim Walberg and Mike Bishop.

Rep. Mike Bishop

The American Action Network is spending six figures in Michigan on the digital and television ads, which encourage voters to thank Bishop or Walberg for supporting the new tax law adopted by Congress last year.

Walberg of Tipton and Bishop of Rochester are among the Republican congressmen facing competitive contests in the fall midterm elections and targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in Michigan.

“The middle-class tax cut by the numbers: Three million Americans received bonuses. Wage growth fastest in eight years. Consumer confidence highest in almost 18 years. Working families saving $2,000 a year,” the narrator says in the ads.

“That’s more money for our mortgage. More for groceries and gas. More to save for college and retirement. Add it up.”

Rep. Tim Walberg

AAN says it has spent more than $30 million promoting the benefits of the tax law since August 2017.

“AAN remains committed to leading the way in educating Americans about changes in the tax law and highlighting the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Corry Bliss, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said Republican House members have a “great track record” of accomplishments to run on that includes the tax cuts.

But the Democrats challenging Bishop and Walberg have criticized the GOP lawmakers for voting for the bill, which they argue mostly benefits the wealthy and corporations.

Democratic strategists are betting that their arguments against the tax bill will win over voters, noting that GOP ads in Pennsylvania’s 18th District ultimately abandoned the tax-cut message as the special-election race progressed.

Conor Lamb, the Democrat in that race, narrowly won the seat this month, defeating Republican Rick Saccone in a district won by President Donald Trump by 20 percentage points.

In a rematch, Walberg is facing former Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell, a former state lawmaker who lost to Walberg by 15 percentage points in 2016.

In Michigan’s 8th District, Democrats Elissa Slotkin of Holly and Chris Smith of East Lansing are vying in the primary election to take on Bishop, who is seeking a third term.

Trump won Walberg’s district by 17 percentage points and Bishop’s by 7 points in 2016.

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