A national Republican committee will begin running digital ads next week that challenge Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria’s support for impeachment and paint the Virginia Democrats as too liberal for their districts. Facebook ads purchased by the National Republican Congressional Committee will begin appearing in 16 districts on Monday, and more may be added, spokeswoman Camille Gallo said.
The buy includes some but not all “Trump districts” that the president won in 2016, such as the ones Spanberger and Luria represent.
The congresswomen, who were part of a wave of Democrats who flipped red districts blue, ran on their backgrounds in national security and promised to vote independent of the Democratic Party. The ads seek to energize independent and Republican voters opposed to impeachment.
Luria, a former Naval commander, represents a Virginia Beach district that is home to tens of thousands of active duty and retired servicemen and servicewomen. Spanberger, a former CIA officer, represents the Richmond, Virginia, suburbs.
The static image ads feature photos of each of the women and text saying they have “sided with the socialists in Washington and [support] impeaching President Trump.”
Gallo said the NRCC saw a dramatic increase in online fundraising this week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced the impeachment inquiry.
Spanberger, Luria and five fellow freshman lawmakers with backgrounds in national security wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post this week to announce their support for impeachment.
Trump is alleged to have improperly used his position to ask the Ukrainian president to investigate a political rival, while withholding military aid appropriated by Congress as leverage.
Independent analysts at the Cook Political Report consider Spanberger and Luria’s races to be toss-ups, while forecasters at Inside Elections and the University of Virginia Center for Politics say the districts lean or tilt Democratic.
They have no immediate plans to change their rankings.
“Until we know where the facts and proceedings lead, we won’t know whether voters in the middle believe Democrats were justified in doing what they did,” said Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections, a nonpartisan newsletter. “Base Republicans and Democrats have already made up their minds about what they think about impeachment.”