Residents of the first congressional district may think that this year’s contest between incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick and challenger Paul Gosar is all about the choice they want to make, but there are larger forces at work, influencing the campaigns from behind the scene.
Among those larger forces is a collection of people wearing white lab coats, carrying drills and sharp picks, aiming at the mouths of people all across America, and now they’re coming for Representative Kirkpatrick. They’re the members of the American Dental Association.
You may think of the American Dental Association as people who certify whether toothpastes are effective, but they’re not coming after Kirkpatrick because she’s got too much plaque. They’re not targeting Kirkpatrick because of political ideology, either. Though Kirkpatrick is a Democrat, she votes as often with the Republicans as with members of her own political party on important legislative matters.
The dentists of the ADA are protecting their own professional interests, seeking to advance Paul Gosar to speak for them in the House of Representatives, regardless of what the residents of Arizona’s 1st district might think. They’ve concluded that Ann Kirkpatrick isn’t as likely to advance their own agenda as Gosar would be.
So, four days ago, the American Dental Association paid Public Opinion Strategies for a telephone “survey” of voters that could be used to communicate negative information against Kirkpatrick. In total, the American Dental Association has spent $31,563 to benefit Paul Gosar this year. Those payments are in excess of what the American Dental Association would be allowed to directly donate to Paul Gosar’s campaign. With the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that independent expenditures on behalf of congressional campaigns can’t be limited, however, America’s dentists are now free to pick, drill and pull in America’s elections wherever they see fit.