Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) is getting some much-needed support in her Senate campaign from the pro-choice Democratic women’s group Emily’s List.
The group is launching a new six-figure ad campaign in Baltimore and the Washington D.C. suburbs backing Edwards’s campaign.
Polls show Edwards about even with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), her rival for the Democratic nomination to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.).
But Van Hollen has far more money than Edwards, who has struggled with fundraising and has little support from the Democratic establishment. She has not been able to afford her own television ads. Instead, she’s relied on a super PAC run by Emily’s List, which aired $1 million in Baltimore ads for Edwards in December and January.
Those ads appear to have had a profound effect. Before they went on the air, Van Hollen led in polls. In the latest independent survey, Edwards has a two-point lead, which was within the poll’s margin of error.
The new ad, “Taking,” touts Edwards as a foe of Wall Street who understands personal struggle.
“As a single mom, she knows the challenges our families face,” the narrator says. “She’ll be our voice. Tightening regulations on the big banks and fighting to keep dark money out of our politics.”
Van Hollen’s campaign, however, argues that the Emily’s List super PAC is itself an example of that dark money. The group must disclose donors but can accept unlimited donations, including from entities that do not disclose their funding.
"We are seeing something unprecedented here in Maryland – an out-of-state Super PAC trying to buy a U.S. Senate seat,” said Van Hollen spokeswoman Bridgett Frey. “We're confident that our state won't fall for it.”
Van Hollen’s campaign has pushed back on the idea that compared to Edwards, he is cozy with Wall Street, noting that he has led several Democratic efforts to rein in big banks.
Both candidates are forswearing money from political action committees run by banks, while both have taken money from individuals who work in the finance industry.