CNN — A leading Democratic advocacy group is launching a $1.7 million digital advertising campaign this week to mobilize voters to turn out in this fall’s elections in two key states.
The advertising blitz by Priorities USA, shared first with CNN, is aimed at encouraging voters to cast early ballots in person in Pennsylvania and Virginia. In addition to encouraging early voting, the campaign is aimed at keeping voters engaged in elections before the 2022 midterms when control of Congress is at stake. The ads will run in English and Spanish.
In Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are locked in a tight contest for governor, Priorities’ push includes ads specifically targeting Black voters. One 15-second spot, called “All of Us,” asks Virginians to vote on behalf of those “who struggled before us” for civil rights. It also asks voters to act on behalf those who lost their lives — in an apparent reference to the Covid-19 pandemic’s grim toll.
McAuliffe and Youngkin, who have sparred over vaccination mandates, are slated to meet for their second and final debate Tuesday night at a community college in Northern Virginia.
Early voting already has begun in Virginia, where all 100 seats in the House of Delegates, lieutenant governor and attorney general also are on the ballot.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, will hold municipal elections this fall.
The Keystone State is home to key congressional races next year, including the election to fill the US Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is retiring. Democrats view this as a key Senate pickup in a state President Joe Biden flipped from red to blue last year.
“Our research has demonstrated that voting is a habit,” Danielle Butterfield, Priorities’ executive director, said in a statement. “Beyond having greater power in their communities, voters who cast their ballots in local elections are more likely to make their voices heard on the national level.”
“By making key investments now,” she added, “Priorities is contributing to mobilization efforts that will pay dividends for years to come.”
Priorities is one of the biggest players in Democratic politics and spent heavily ahead of the 2020 election to help drive turnout in places like Pennsylvania.
The new voter-mobilization campaign is in addition to the $20 million Priorities has committed to spending on voting-rights programs ahead of the 2022 cycle. That money is aimed largely at countering new voting restrictions enacted this year by Republican legislatures in key battleground states.
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