The charge from the right has been led by American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC founded last year that has dedicated nearly $700,000 to ads attacking Hochul and Davis. Crossroads and its nonprofit affiliate, Crossroads GPS, has vowed to raise $120 million for the 2012 cycle.
Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said many special elections often serve as magnets for spending by the parties and outside groups, and the New York race is no different. He said Crossroads will continue to spend heavily in many competitive races through next November.
“The Crossroads groups have stated that we’ll be involved heavily in 2012, both in congressional races and the presidential side as well,” Collegio said.
Other groups funding ads favoring Corwin include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and the National Right to Life Committee, records show. The Tea Party Express — a national group that has disavowed Davis’s candidacy — is also paying for telephone robocalls and get-out-the-vote efforts in support of Corwin, according to news reports.
Democratic officials and their supporters say Hochul’s chances of capturing the seat remain uncertain, but they say the debate over Medicare and Davis’s unorthodox campaign give her a clear opportunity. Groups supporting Hochul include the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has spent about $270,000, and labor groups such as the Communications Workers of America and the Service Employees International Union.
House Majority PAC, which was formed just last month, has spent about $370,000 on television ads attacking Corwin’s stance on Medicare, according to FEC records filed as of Friday. Executive Director Alixandria Lapp said the group decided to jump into the race after seeing an initial surge in spending by American Crossroads and other conservative organizations.
“Their involvement in this race showed us that they were very worried about holding this very Republican district,” Lapp said. “We decided it would be a worthy investment.”
The one candidate who has gotten little direct support from outside groups is Davis, a Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-tea partier who lambastes both parties as tools of multinational corporations and other monied interests. Spokesman Curt Ellis said the factory owner “has been hit from both sides” in the ad wars.
“Jack Davis has said that both the Democratic and Republican parties have been bought by the special interests,” Ellis said. “That’s who’s funding these ads, and that’s why we see both of them attacking Jack.”
Staff writer T.W. Farnam contributed to this report.