Topeka The Republican Governors Association released an ad in Kansas Thursday on behalf of Gov. Sam Brownback that attempts to tie his Democratic opponent, Rep. Paul Davis, of Lawrence, to President Barack Obama.
The ads began appearing on the same day the Brownback campaign sent out fundraising emails warning GOP voters that the Democratic Governors Association was throwing its support behind Davis, a statement which seemed to come as a surprise to the Davis campaign.
In the latest TV ad, an announcer mentions Obama and Obamacare seven times in 30 seconds, while mentioning Davis' name four times. The ad describes Davis as a "liberal Lawrence legislator" who was an Obama delegate at both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic national conventions.
"Don't delegate Kansas to an Obama liberal," the ad says.
A disclaimer on the ad says it was paid for by the Republican Governors Association.
The Brownback campaign emails warning of a similar effort underway by national Democrats went out the same day.
"Today the Democratic Governor’s Association, a far-left group in Washington designed to defeat Republican Governors, just made a big announcement," the email said. "They’re throwing everything they have into Kansas, and we have to fight back."
Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the DGA, said Brownback's email referred to a fundraising email that the DGA sent out immediately after Tuesday's primaries, saying Brownback had weak support within his own party and that Davis has a good chance of winning.
"It’s happening, Friends – we’re on the verge of WINNING deep-red Kansas," the email said.
The Democrats' email went out Tuesday night after Brownback, the incumbent governor who previously spent 15 years in the U.S. Senate, received 63 percent of the vote in a Republican primary against a virtually unknown opponent who had raised and spent less than $14,000.
Tying Davis to the Obama administration has been a consistent theme in Brownback's campaign speeches in recent days, largely because Obama's approval ratings have fallen sharply. The most recent Gallup daily tracking poll showed his job approval rating at 41 percent nationally.
During his primary victory speech Tuesday night, and at a GOP rally in Topeka the next day, Brownback repeatedly referred to Davis as an "Obama-style liberal."
Davis' campaign spokesman Chris Pumpelly said he is not worried about the tactic.
"It's clear that Sam Brownback is in trouble and the RGA knows it," Pumpelly said. "With the recent credit agency downgrades and his weak primary performance, outside groups and Brownback are going to do everything they can to distract voters."