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Lincoln Loses Chamber of Commerce Ad Support in a Snap

Nobody could have anticipated:

The pro-business organization Americans for Job Security played an influential role in helping Lincoln beat her challenger, Bill Halter, by running a controversial ad campaign in which Indian actors thanked the Lt. Governor for outsourcing American jobs to their country. The spots were effective (Lincoln echoed the message in mailers of her own). And they carried a ton of weight — AJS put $1.8 million behind the campaign.

But with Halter now out, the group is poised to stop its engagement. AJS President Stephen DeMaura wouldn’t completely rule out running ads in a Lincoln-Boozman election. But in an interview with the Huffington Post, he said it was “probably likely” that they wouldn’t run ads.

“What we see as one of our primary roles is counteracting labor’s influence,” he said, “and they were obviously an enormous force last night.”

I don’t believe for a second that the Chamber of Commerce chases labor money around the country. But in this case, they didn’t want to see a populist Southern Democrat get traction and possibly win a seat, so they backed the corporate Democrat. In the general election, it’s a win-win for them, so funding ads would be a total waste of money.

And so Lincoln goes into the general election 15-20 points down, without the IE that got her past the primary, without any support outside of the Democratic establishment, which will also dry up if they make the cold calculation that the race is unwinnable.

Best of luck to her.

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David Dayen

David Dayen