Democrats are returning to an old, underhanded method in order to try and siphon votes away from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in South Carolina.
Liberal groups from outside the state are spending money on mailers for a third-party candidate who already dropped out of the senate race, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“A political action committee founded by national Democratic operatives to help Harrison’s campaign—Lindsey Must Go PAC—recently spent more than $133,000 on mailers highlighting former Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe, who has dropped out of the race and thrown his support behind Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. The mailers say Bledsoe is ‘the only true conservative on the ballot,’” the outlet reported.
Bledsoe dropped out of the race weeks ago.
Graham’s opponent, Democrat Jaime Harrison, used the same tactic earlier this week when his campaign launched ads supporting Bledsoe.
“The ads call Bledsoe ‘the only Senate candidate who stood with President Trump on day one’ and note that he ‘opposes all abortions’ and ‘believes that any gun-control law infringes upon the Second Amendment.’ The ads also link to a website paid for by the South Carolina Democratic Party, which calls Bledsoe ‘pro-Trump,’ ‘pro-gun,’ and ‘anti-abortion,’” the Free Beacon reported.
Bledsoe dropped out of the race on October 1 after his campaign failed to raise even $1.
As the Free Beacon reported, South Carolina is not the only state where Democrats are trying this tactic:
Harrison is not the only red-state Democrat working to siphon votes away from a Republican opponent by boosting a third-party candidate. A liberal super PAC backing Kentucky Senate nominee Amy McGrath—Fire Mitch Save America—spent more than $77,000 on mailers propping up libertarian candidate Brad Barron. The mailers call Barron, whose campaign has disbursed less than $17,000, a “better choice for U.S. Senate” who “believes in freedom, liberty, and individual rights.” McGrath’s campaign asked “people who are interested in contributing beyond the legal limits” to give to Fire Mitch Save America in January.
Graham claimed the effort was “unprecedented.”
“This is an unprecedented effort for a Democrat to campaign for the constitutional conservative when the constitutional conservative is supporting the Republican,” Graham said. “It tells a lot about the state of the race.”
This is not the first election cycle where Democrats have used such an underhanded technique. In 2010, Democrats in several states allegedly recruited fake candidates to pose as members of the Tea Party in order to siphon votes from Republican candidates. In Michigan, multiple candidates ran claiming to be members of The Tea Party, yet they had voted Democrat in previous elections. Republicans in Florida claimed people running as Tea party candidates were former Democrats. Similar allegations occurred in Pennsylvania.
In New Jersey, then-incumbent Democratic congressman John Adler’s campaign allegedly propped up “Tea Party” candidate Peter DeStefano. Democratic operatives confirmed the party was behind the nomination. Numerous signatures on the petition to get DeStefano on the ballot were from Democrats, including a member of Adler’s campaign. The Republican in the race, John Runyan, ended up winning that election.