State Sen. Andrew Roraback, a Republican candidate for the open seat in the 5th District, was happy Thursday to defend himself against a labor-backed Super PAC’s attack ad outside Democratic Party headquarters in Hartford.
The 30-second advertisement paid for by Patriotic Majority USA accuses Roraback of increasing taxes, but contains several inaccuracies or half-truths. In an attempt to appeal to the Republican voter, the liberal PAC accused Roraback of increasing sales taxes, the diesel fuel tax, and taxes on the Internet.
Back when the economy was booming Roraback admitted he suggested, but never proposed legislation to increase the sales tax to help preserve farmland. He also agreed after 9/11 with former Gov. John Rowland’s proposal to equalize the diesel fuel tax, but he called the third accusation an “outright lie.”
The ad referred to an article of the Hartford Courant from April 18, 2008 in which Roraback said he was discussing a number of different options to bring internet to people who didn’t have it so that everyone in Connecticut could have access to that service, he clarified.
This negative ad is just one of many independent expenditures being made on behalf of a handful of the candidates in the 5th District.
According to OpenSecrets.org, New Directions for America, a PAC set up to benefit Democrat Dan Roberti has spent more than $413,000 on advertisements supporting its candidate. Democratic Elizabeth Esty has benefited from a more than $300,000 expenditure made by Women Vote!, a spin-off of EMILY’s List. Women Vote! also spent more than $38,000 on mailings attacking Chris Donovan, another Democrat, in the race.
The ad by Patriotic Majority PAC, which attacks Roraback, cost the group more than $200,000.
Roraback said he was flattered that the Democrats in Washington see him a threat.
“What could be more flattering than to have the people that you’re looking to defeat recognize the strength of your candidacy by putting $200,000 on the table to take you out?” Roraback said.
The advertisement, which called Roraback “no friend of the taxpayer,” made history by being the first time ever the Democratic Super PAC has spent money to alter the outcome of the Republican primary, Roraback said.
Roraback called the ad a “cynical ploy to deceive voters” and called on the citizens of Connecticut, particularly Republican voters, “not to be fooled by these TV ads.”
“We will become the laughing stock of the United States of America if we choose to nominate candidates who are under investigation or whose campaigns are under investigation. We can do a lot better,” Roraback said, referring to Donovan as a “potential felon.”
Roraback said if elected to Congress, he would work to unravel the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which allowed these independent expenditures from large donors to become part of the political landscape.
Democrats called Roraback’s outrage at the PAC spending hypocritical since he voted against public financing of campaigns as a state lawmaker.
“Senator Roraback’s attack on Super PACs is the epitome of hypocrisy,” Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said. “This is a politician who voted against campaign finance reform in Connecticut.”
She went on to say that he is the endorsed candidate of the Republican party which has trumpeted the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen’s United, even if he doesn’t support it.
Roraback is running against Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg, and Justin Bernier Aug. 14.