Bob Dold Starts New Group to Thank ‘Centrist’ GOP Incumbents

American Solutions Action Project is already running ads for Walters and Comstock

Former Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold is behind a new nonprofit social welfare organization educating Americans about “center-right” Republicans and their work in Congress. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold knows what it’s like to break from his party. 

That wasn’t enough to save the moderate Republican lawmaker in 2016. He lost to Democrat Brad Schneider, while Hillary Clinton was carrying his 10th District by nearly 30 points. 

But now, along with former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick, Dold has started a new nonprofit that will provide more air cover for centrist Republicans this year.

American Solutions Action Project, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit social welfare organization, was formed over the past few months to educate Americans about “a pro-growth, center-right” agenda in Congress and the members carrying it out. The group will highlight the work of Republicans who have broken from the GOP when it’s in the best interest of their districts.

The group already has digital spots touting the work of two vulnerable GOP women sitting in Clinton districts.

A 15-second ad urges viewers to thank California Rep. Mimi Walters for being a leader “who will protect women from sexual harassment.”

A similar 30-second ad praises Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock as a “leader who will hold those accountable, no matter which political party they are from.” The on-screen text at the end of the ad tells viewers: “Share with your mother, share with your daughter, share with your friends, share with your loved ones.”

“Ask Barbara to stay in the fight for women,” the narrator concludes. 

American Solutions Action Project is spending about $100,000 combined on the two digital spots. Ascent Media produced the ads. American Solutions is open to expanding to TV ads and direct mail depending on the financial resources it raises.

Dold stressed that as a nonprofit organization, the group isn’t engaged in campaign advertising. “This is an opportunity on the education side, not political side,” the Illinois Republican said.

But the electoral tie-in is clear. Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to gain the House majority. At least 23 Republicans (and two more after the redrawn Pennsylvania map) sit in districts Clinton won in 2016. American Solutions put it succinctly on its Facebook page: “Supporting Republican Incumbents in Clinton Districts. Preserving the House Majority.”

Its Facebook description reads: “Winning the toughest swing districts requires these incumbents to break with the GOP on policy and approach, demonstrating independence, and leading by listening to the concerns of their core voters.” 

American Solutions isn’t limiting itself to only thanking those 23 Republicans.

“The centrist folks have traditionally been targets and have stood up against the party before,” Dold said. “I, for one, think that this is something more people want to see.”

The former congressman described the group’s issue set as “center-right,” mentioning the environment as one area where some Republicans are standing up to the typical party position because it’s in the best interest of their districts. 

“There’s not a limit on the issues that we can talk about,” Dold said. The former co-chairman of the moderate Tuesday Group was known for bucking his party’s positions on, among other things, gun control measures. 

Dold said American Solutions Action Project is something he wishes had been there when he was in Congress. 

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