MoveOn.org attacks Kissell
By Lee Barnes
A national political action committee that donated campaign money to Congressman Larry Kissell is now running commercials criticizing Kissell’s vote against the House’s health-care reform bill.
Kissell is one of seven Democrats, including fellow North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler, targeted in the ads paid for by MoveOn.org, a liberal political action committee.
MoveOn.org has given $4,600 to Kissell’s campaigns, elections figures show. In the 2008 election, Kissell defeated five-term Republican incumbent Robin Hayes for the 8th District seat.
The PAC launched its $500,000 ad campaign Thursday, targeting Kissell and other Democrats who voted against the bill, which was approved by the House. Each ad is individually tailored to the specific representative. Kissell’s office would not comment on the ads Monday.
In a news release last week, MoveOn.org Executive Director Justin Ruben said Kissell “had a critical choice to make” in the vote.
“He could either stand up for the people of North Carolina and take a historic vote to fix the health care crisis, or he could stand with the insurance industry to vote for the status quo,” said Ruben. “MoveOn members in North Carolina will work every day between now and election day to remind voters whose side Representative Kissell took.”
The organization says it has 5 million members, with an average member donation of under $100.
So far this year, more than $150 million has been spent on television ads related to the health care debate. The Campaign Media Analysis Group says $63 million has been spent on ads favoring Democrats’ reform plans, while $52 million has been spent on ads opposing reforms.
In addition to its TV ads, MoveOn has begun soliciting pledges to launch a primary challenge against any Senate Democrat who tries to obstruct a health-care vote.
Kissell is in his first term representing the heavily Republican district, which includes parts of 10 counties, including all of Cabarrus. So far, four Republicans have announced plans to run against him next year.