Television ads that feature a couple walking down a palm tree-covered street and that urge Kansas voters to thank U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder were produced by a national group with links to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The ads, which are playing in the Kansas City market, feature a married couple discussing how the tax cuts passed by Congress last month will help their family. Video shows them in the workplace, home and playing with their kids in a park with tropical trees.
“And a simpler, fairer tax code helps create jobs and boost middle-class income so there’s more money in your pocket,” the husband says during the ad.
A message appears on the screen urging voters to call Yoder, an Overland Park Republican running for re-election in a district Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016, and thank him for his vote in favor of the tax cuts.
Yoder’s campaign had no role in producing the ads, which were made by the American Action Network, an offshoot of Ryan’s Congressional Leadership Fund PAC. Federal law forbids coordination between Yoder’s campaign and the independent expenditure group.
Identical ads are also airing in 22 other congressional districts across the country in support of Republican incumbents in states that are full of palm trees, such as California and Florida, and states that aren’t, such as Michigan and Minnesota.
The total cost of the ad buy was $2 million nationwide, according to a release sent out by the American Action Network earlier this month.
Corry Bliss, the group’s executive director, said in the release that the network plans to spend at least $10 million promoting the tax cuts in the coming months. Bliss has links to Kansas, managing U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts’ successful re-election campaign in 2014.
The images of palm trees in the ads have been mocked by social media users in the 3rd congressional district who mistook the ad for something produced by Yoder.
“My Congresscritter - Kevin Yoder - says he’s ‘in touch’ with Kansas 3rd District voters in his new ad. Presumably like this lovely couple with the stately palm trees lining their suburban Johnson County, Kansas street... I think I’ll vote for someone who knows what this Congressional district looks like,” Duane Daugherty, a Roeland Park resident, wrote in a Facebook post.
Yoder’s spokesman noted the campaign’s lack of involvement in the ads.
Michael Byerly, the spokesman for the American Action Network, said in an email that working families “across the country are already seeing the benefits of pro-growth tax reform and American Action Network is proud to tout that positive message. In Kansas’ 3rd district, a typical family of four will receive a tax cut of $2,728.”
Byerly previously worked for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, another Kansas Republican who voted for the tax cuts.