Republicans forced a TV station in Nevada to drop an advert backing Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto's reelection, it emerged on Wednesday, after they complained it included 'flagrantly false' information about her GOP challenger.
Cortez Masto faces a tough fight to hang on to her seat against former state Attorney General Adam Naxalt.
In its first ad of the 2022 cycle, the Senate Majority PAC put up an advert suggesting Naxalt opposed the child tax credit, relief for Nevada's economy and reducing drug costs for seniors.
The National Republican Senate Committee wrote to complain about the content prompting Reno's CBS affiliate KTVN 2 News to say it was pulling the advert.
'I have consulted with our attorneys and while this is a difficult decision, we will be pulling the ad as of tomorrow unless new documentation or information comes in that changes the course of our decision,' wrote a station executive in a message to both sides, according to Politico Playbook.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto suffered a blow in her effort to hang on to her Nevada seat when Republicans successfully persuaded a local TV station to drop an advert bashing her likely challenger Adam Laxalt saying it included 'flagrantly false' information
The National Republican Senate Committee complained about some of the content of the advert put up by the Senate Majority PAC
The NRSC said: 'These claims are false and based entirely on faulty substantiation'
Complaints by one side or the other about TV spots are nothing new.
But the outcome is unusual and brought a jubilant response from the NSRC.
'Catherine Cortez Masto's reelection campaign is off to a rocky start,' it said.
'Chuck Schumer's Senate Majority PAC picked Nevada to place its first ad buy of the 2022 cycle.
'But that ad is coming off Nevada airwaves today because it was filled with egregious mistruths and 'flagrantly false' statements about a Republican Senate candidate.'
Cortez Masto's seat is high on the list of targets as Republicans look to win back the Senate.
A recent poll, from the left-leaning Mellman Group for the Nevada Independent, gave her a four-point lead over Naxalt, her likely challenger.
The advert used provisions in the pandemic relief and reconciliation bills to attack her opponent as anti-child tax credit and reducing drug costs for seniors.
But that was not true, according to the NSRC's letter of complaint.
'We have a demonstrated interest in ensuring that Republican candidates are not defamed and that the airwaves we will utilize are free from misleading and false claims,' it said.
'It has come to our attention that Senate Majority PAC is airing a flagrantly false advertisement on your station targeting Adam Laxalt. The Advertisement, entitled 'Standing in the Way,' makes three unfounded claims based on erroneous citations: that Laxalt is (1) 'opposing relief for Nevada's economy'; (2) 'says no to lower prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare'; and (3) that Laxalt 'even opposes the expanded child tax credit for working parents.'1
'These claims are false and based entirely on faulty substantiation.'
The Senate Majority PAC responded through Democratic-aligned Elias Law Group.
It told the TV station that the NSRC was not mentioned in the advert or harmed, and so its complaint should be treated in the same way as a complaint from any other viewer.
It also took issue with the substance of the complaint.
'However, each of these claims is accurate and supported by clear and conspicuous on-screen citations as well as the additional backup sent to your station,' it said.