- CatholicVote, a national political advocacy group, has launched a $9.7 million ad campaign against Joe Biden.
- The campaign kicked off with digital ads in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
- Biden has been criticized by conservatives for his record on abortion, which was a major theme at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
- Trump won the Catholic vote by 7 percentage points in 2016, but the group is considered up for grabs this year.
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A conservative-leaning Catholic group has launched a $9.7 million ad campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, focusing on Catholic voters in battleground states across the country, according to The Hill.
CatholicVote, a national political advocacy group, will begin their campaign with a $350,000 digital ad buy in Michigan and Pennsylvania, which both have sizeable Catholic populations. The group, which has staffers in six states and "over 2,000 community captains representing unique Catholic parishes across these states," aims to reach over 5 million Catholics across several swing states.
If elected, Biden, the first Catholic vice president in US history, would be the first Catholic president since John F. Kennedy. Throughout most of his political career, Biden has spoken at length about his faith and how it has connected him to his family.
However, the group has taken Biden to task on several issues, notably with his position on abortion.
"Joe Biden's record makes clear he will not protect our Catholic values or defend our way of life," CatholicVote President Brian Burch said in a statement. "For Catholics who cherish the Faith and their freedom to live it, a Biden presidency represents an existential threat."
In a recently-released video ad, the narrator says that "Joe Biden would force American Catholics to pay for abortions, sacrificing his Catholic values to kneel before the leftist mob."
Last year, Biden was criticized by conservatives for reversing his longtime support of the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or if the procedure is necessary to save the mother's life.
At the 2020 Republican National Convention, Lou Holtz, a longtime collegiate and professional football coach, was sharply critical of Biden on the issue of abortion in his speech.
"The Biden-Harris ticket is the most radically pro-abortion campaign in history," Holtz said. "They and other politicians are Catholics in name only and abandon innocent lives. President Trump protects those lives."
This week, the Biden campaign announced the 36 co-chairs for 'Catholics for Biden,' a group of supporters that includes Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Tim Kaine of Virginia.
In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, John McCarthy, the Biden campaign's deputy national political director, explained that the surrogates will reveal to voters how their faith attracts them to the Democratic nominee's message.
"The Catholicism that he holds so personally you see playing out in the ways he talks about social injustice, economic inequality, work being more than about a paycheck but about dignity, and other Catholic touchstones," McCarthy said.
Former president Barack Obama won the Catholic vote in 2008 (54%-45%) and 2012 (50%-48%), while Trump carried the Catholic vote by 7 percentage points (52%-45%) in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center.
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