The group, which advocates limited government and is funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, is using television, social media and other public outreach efforts to link politically vulnerable Democrats to President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
Americans for Prosperity has run ads in eight states holding Senate races this year, led by North Carolina. AFP ads attacking Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan have run 5,471 times as she labors to win a second term. AFP has run ads 2,723 times in Louisiana, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking a fourth term in a state that Obama lost by 17 percentage points in the 2012 election.
The Senate, which Democrats control by a 55-45 margin, will be more of a political battleground than the House, where the Republican majority looks secure, according to nonpartisan political analysts such as the Cook Political Report. Democrats are the defending party in 21 of the 36 Senate elections, including race in North Carolina, Louisiana and five other states that Obama didn’t win in 2012.
The other 23 percent of AFP’s ads oppose Democrats or promote Republicans in nine House districts.
While well-known for its on-the-ground political efforts, AFP has run far more TV ads, 17,808, than any other group early in the 2014 campaign, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG. The data cover the period from Jan. 1, 2013 to March 17, 2014.
The Koch brothers are the fifth and sixth richest people in the world, their combined net worth an estimated $101 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.