We are now less than two weeks away from Election Day, which might seem like an odd time for any group to begin funneling money into any candidate. That is until you cut through the bullshit.
The American Future Fund, a right-wing nonprofit based out of Iowa, has launched an ad campaign in support of Libertarian senate candidate Sean Haugh. Though you won’t see Haugh’s approval on any of the conservative group’s ads, which feature young people championing Haugh’s anti-war and pro-legalization of marijuana platforms, the group has reportedly spent $225,000 on its last minute campaign and is planning to spend more, according to the Washington Post.
The ads, which are a clear assault on Sen. Kay Hagan as much as they are in support of Haugh, target young voters, particularly college students, in what appears to be nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to weaken Hagan’s voter base before the election.
Though several of the American Future Fund’s 10 ads criticize Hagan for being a warmongerer who is against legalizing weed, none of the ads mention that N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, too, is opposed to legalizing marijuana and has criticized Hagan for not being aggressive enough in dealing with the Islamic State.
Haugh, whose campaign contributions prior to the AFFs involvement have consisted primarily of beer, said that while he is aware that he is being used as political pawn to further Tillis’ odds of success, he still appreciates the publicity.
“It is really quite surreal to be turned into a character in this whole dark money game that people are playing,” Haugh said. “There’s this weird kind of disconnect though because even though they present my views correctly, there’s no heart in these ads. This is all just part of a cynical political ploy.”
The latest data released by Real Clear Politics, a political-polling aggregator, show Hagan 1.6 points ahead of Tillis, but with the help of the American Future Fund, Tillis may be able to narrow that gap.
Though it is too early to tell what impact these ads will ultimately have on the election, it should come as no surprise that the hip, young Haugh supporters pictured in the ads are not the progressives they make themselves out to be. Any vote cast in Haugh’s name based solely on these ads might as well be a vote cast for Tillis come Nov. 4.