By Eva McKend, CNN
The campaign arm of House Democrats is launching a new effort to reach Black voters ahead of the November midterm elections.
Beginning in Virginia this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will roll out radio and print ads that make the pitch to Black voters by emphasizing policy achievements such as the expanded child tax credit for 2021 included in the American Rescue Plan. The areas targeted by the five-figure investment include the Northern Virginia district of Rep. Abigail Spanberger and the Hampton Roads district of Rep. Elaine Luria. Both Democrats are in the DCCC’s Frontline program for vulnerable incumbents and also on the National Republican Congressional Committee’s target list for 2022.
Black voters have historically criticized politicians of both parties for only showing interest in their communities shortly before an election. “This is a very loud, intentional, and thoughtful response to the feedback that we need to communicate earlier, and it’s just the beginning. We’re saying, we hear you,” Chris Taylor, the DCCC’s national press secretary, said in an email.
The DCCC also noted that the effort represents its earliest paid media investment aimed at Black voters in an election cycle. It is part of the committee’s Building Our Base Project, an initiative launched last year with an initial investment of $30 million aimed at building stronger relationships with communities of color.
One radio spot, shared first with CNN, suggests Democrats were the only party attuned to the stresses faced by African Americans during the global pandemic.
In another radio ad, the narrator characterizes congressional Democrats as fighters for Black communities. “Democrats in Congress delivered for us with the American Rescue Plan, and now, we’re back to work, our businesses are reopening, and our kids have returned to classrooms where they thrive,” the narrator says. “And not a single Republican voted for it.”
While no Republicans supported the nearly $2 trillion economic stimulus law enacted in March 2021, other coronavirus relief measures, such as the CARES Act that was enacted under then-President Donald Trump, did enjoy bipartisan support.
Besides radio, the campaign also includes a print ad with the words “We Did That” in bold lettering. Legislative actions highlighted in the ad include the enhanced monthly child tax credit, the bipartisan infrastructure package and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the child tax credit for 2021 was raised to a maximum of up to $3,600 per child, up from $2,000 previously, and could be received in monthly installments. The enhanced credit expired at the end of December. The police reform bill named after George Floyd passed the House with Democratic support but has stalled in the Senate.
The new DCCC push comes at a time when recent polls suggest President Joe Biden has lost ground with Black voters. For instance, a Pew Ressearch Center survey from March 2021 found Biden with a job approval rating of 87% among Black Americans. That number had fallen to 60% in Pew’s January survey.
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CNN’s Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed to this report.