VA05: NYT Poll Shows Cockburn +1, Paul Ryan's Super PAC rushes in
"Leslie Cockburn has out-hustled and out-campaigned Denver Riggleman - and VA-05 voters know it. The New York Times poll that shows Leslie leading reflects the hard work Leslie and her team have done to meet VA-05 voters where they are at. This last-minute financial lifeboat from Paul Ryan's Super PAC will be not be enough to save Denver and his lackluster, out-of-touch campaign," said DPVA Communications Director Jake Rubenstein.
Mike DeBonis, Washington Post
A top Republican super PAC will air ads in rural Virginia in an effort to save a House seat that has been widely seen as likely to remain in GOP hands.
The Congressional Leadership Fund will air ads targeting voters in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, which is held by retiring Republican Thomas Garrett.
The race pits distillery owner Denver Riggleman against journalist Leslie Cockburn, who has been running an unapologetically liberal campaign in a district that includes the college town of Charlottesville but also a huge swath of rural Virginia stretching south to the North Carolina border.
The CLF reservation was confirmed by two people familiar with the purchase and extends through Election Day. It comes a day after a New York Times/Siena College poll found the race to be a toss-up, with 1 in 10 voters undecided.
Most forecasters have called the race a stretch for Democrats. The Cook Political Report, for instance, rates it as leaning Republican, and national party committees have largely stayed out of the fray as they view the battle for the House majority playing out in other districts.
Cockburn has outraised Riggleman more than 2 to 1. She had just over $1 million to spend in the final month of the race, according to federal campaign reports, vs. $505,000 for Riggleman. Both candidates have support from outside groups as well: Cockburn has the backing of Women Vote, a super PAC affiliated with Emily’s List, while the Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund has aired ads attacking her.
But the decision of a top Republican group to spend its resources in the race reflects the expanding battlefield that has benefited Democrats by forcing national Republican groups to spread their dollars among many more districts.
Cockburn spokeswoman Louise Bruce said super PACs like CLF “are going to realize that you can’t buy the grassroots movement we see sweeping across this district.”
“The voters of the 5th District are hungry for change and are going to reject the same old tired playbook that CLF and other dark money groups use to manipulate our democracy,” Bruce said in an email.