A mysterious new super PAC with apparent ties to Democrats is going on air hitting Montana Republican Senate hopeful Tim Sheehy over a PPP loan he received — nine months before he’ll even face primary voters.
The group, Last Best Place PAC, made a $134,000 buy on broadcast and cable to run Tuesday through Sept. 25. The 30-second spot raps Sheehy, who runs an aerial firefighting company, as a multimillionaire who “got rich off government contracts” and then walked away from a $770,000 loan.
Puzzle pieces: The PAC was registered just last week and isn’t required to report the sources of any fundraising until early next year. But there are signs it is connected to the Democratic Party: On its registration form with the Federal Election Commission, the PAC listed Amalgamated Bank, the bank of choice for many prominent Democratic groups, including the Democratic National Committee.
The airtime was purchased by a company called Mountain Media Agency. The address that Mountain Media listed in a FCC filing is an Alexandria, Va., townhouse also used by Old Town Media, which works with many Democratic campaigns.
State of play: Sheehy is a top GOP recruit eager to take on Sen. Jon Tester, one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents, and he is already on air defining himself. But GOP Rep. Matt Rosendale, who lost to Tester in 2018, is also considering a run, much to the chagrin of national Republicans who want a fresh face for their nominee.
In a statement to POLITICO, the group’s treasurer, Dave Lewis, declined to answer whether the PAC was affiliated with Democrats.
“Montanans deserve to know who Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked millionaire candidate really is,” he said. “The truth is Tim Sheehy walked away from a loan, dodges Montana taxes, and profits off government contracts.”
It’s possible the buy is aimed at luring Rosendale into the race. Republicans are already accusing Democrats and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of taking this tactic.
The NRSC called the new super PAC a “shady Schumer-Tester front group” that is meddling in the race because “they fear Tim Sheehy,” while Sheehy’s campaign said it was “a pathetic attempt to stop” Sheehy’s “inevitable” victory.
Old Town Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee declined to comment.
This post has been updated to clarify the type of loan Tim Sheehy’s business received.
CLARIFICATION: This post has been updated to clarify the type of loan Tim Sheehy’s business received.