Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash is getting some help in his Republican primary from the conservative Club for Growth, which will begin running ads portraying his opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal.
The group will go up Thursday with a radio ad and a television ad attacking Brian Ellis, the Republican businessman who is challenging Amash, painting him as a wasteful spender and tying him to the Michigan Strategic Fund, which drew large amounts of criticism for vastly overstating the amount of jobs it created.
“Have you ever heard of Brian Ellis?” asks the narrator of the television ad. “On the East Grand Rapids School Board, Ellis raised property taxes, hiked spending, and left massive deficits. On Jennifer Granholm’s Strategic Fund, Ellis wasted our tax dollars on a golf resort and production of gourmet mushrooms and pet food. Now Brian Ellis is running for Congress: sounds like he’d fit right in.”
It is a “large, six-figure buy,” said Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller. The television ad will run on both broadcast and cable, and the radio ad will run through the whole district.
The ads do not mention Amash, but in a statement, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola touted Amash “because he fights for economic freedom and individual liberty.”
“In Congress, Justin has demonstrated time and time again a willingness to stand up to the big spenders in both parties,” Chocola said. “Club members are excited to help re-elect him this November.”
“Brian Ellis is a tax-hiking, corporate welfare-loving, big-spending politician. A record like that belongs in the Democratic primary, not the Republican one,” added Chocola.
Ellis’s campaign fired back at the ads, calling them “spin.”
“Justin Amash’s votes to spend Obama Stimulus money have apparently even confused his Washington DC special interest friends,” said Megan Wells, campaign spokesperson, in a statement.*
“The DC special interests will spin as they normally do, but no amount of spin will alter the fact that Justin Amash voted with Obama’s position 51% of the time, voted against a Balanced Budget Amendment, and refused to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline,” Wells added. “Conservative Brian Ellis supports a balanced budget, the Keystone Pipeline and will fight for conservative values.
*This post has been updated with a response from the Ellis campaign.