The re-election campaign of District 6 Democratic Rep. John Delaney has begun airing TV ads slamming Republican challenger Amie Hoeber as an “extreme tea party partisan,” barely a day after a pro-Hoeber Super PAC began running ads that take aim at the incumbent.
A 30-second ad that criticizes Hoeber on several issues, while praising Delaney as an “entrepreneur” who “puts working for us ahead of partisan politics” began appearing Friday during the 6 a.m. local news on WRC/Channel 4.
Available filings on the FCC Web site indicate that Maryland USA, a pro-Hoeber Super PAC, began running ads Wednesday, and has a contract to run nearly $112,000 in advertising on WRC through the end of September. Just hours after the Maryland USA ads began running, Delaney filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, charging illegal coordination between Hoeber’s personal campaign committee and Maryland USA—which is almost entirely funded by Hoeber’s husband, Mark Epstein, a multimillionaire telecommunications executive.
The personal assets of both candidates—Delaney, with a fortune estimated at upward of $115 million, is among the wealthiest members of Congress—appear to presage an expensive TV ad war in what is considered Maryland’s most competitive congressional race this fall. Delaney and Hoeber reside in the same Potomac neighborhood, and are running in a district that extends from Potomac, Gaithersburg and northwestern Montgomery County nearly 200 miles across Maryland’s western panhandle.
Filings by Maryland USA with the FEC late Friday indicated that it has so far purchased a total of $750,000 in TV advertising for the general election; it is not clear how much of this will run in the Washington broadcast market, as opposed to cable TV as well as broadcast stations that reach into other sections of District 6. The amount of Delaney's television spending will become clearer when quarterly reports required of candidates are filed with the FEC next month; available FCC filings indicate his campaign is spending nearly $78,000 on the anti-Hoeber ad through the end of September, including $69,300 on WRC and $8,500 on WTTG/Channel 5.
The Delaney ad airing Friday morning opens by attacking Hoeber on two foreign policy fronts, saying she “would invade Iraq again if given the chance” and “has fought for a global increase in chemical weapons.” The latter charge reiterates a recent Delaney criticism of Hoeber, a long-time national security consultant who was deputy undersecretary of the Army during the Reagan administration, for testifying against an international chemical weapons treaty nearly two decades ago. Hoeber has said she stands by her opposition to that treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, while criticizing its effectiveness.
Delaney’s characterization of Hoeber’s stance on Iraq appears to stem from recent comments by the Republican challenger that, had she been a member of Congress in 2003, she would have voted to send U.S. troops to Iraq.
One charge the Delaney ad makes against Hoeber, that she “will defund Planned Parenthood, threatening cancer screening,” appears to be at odds with comments that Hoeber made at a candidate forum in Gaithersburg earlier this week. “Primarily, they do a great deal of helpful health services for women, and that should be continued,” Hoeber replied when asked about Planned Parenthood. While taking a largely conservative line in winning the District 6 Republican nomination earlier this year, Hoeber did differ from the other seven candidates in the primary field in her support of abortion rights.
In addition to its criticism of Hoeber, the new Delaney ad declares that, before entering Congress, the incumbent “built two respected Maryland businesses, creating thousands of jobs.” Since his first campaign for Congress in 2012, Delaney has taken heat from opponents for several loans made by the two businesses he created—CapitalSource, a commercial lender, and Health Care Financial Partners. One ad now being aired by Maryland USA accuses Delaney of having “financed companies that foreclosed on homeowners and provided poor care to seniors.”