The anti-Trump Republican Accountability Project is kicking off a $1 million billboard campaign Thursday that targets 12 Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The billboards call on the dozen congressional Republicans to resign for spreading lies about the 2020 election that “incited the Capitol attack” on Jan. 6, according to details first shared with POLITICO. All of the lawmakers on the list voted to reject state electors President Joe Biden won in November as part of an effort to overturn the election results.
The effort is part of a larger $50 million campaign by a coalition of “Never Trump” groups, which plan to support GOP lawmakers who vote to impeach or convict former President Donald Trump in the House and Senate and to target Republicans who’ve continued to side with Trump.
The billboard target list is composed of “people who are the most enthusiastic about lying to their constituencies about the election being stolen,” said Sarah Longwell, executive director of the Republican Accountability Project. “The goal is to not allow these officials to memory-hole the fact that they pushed this lie, which incited the attack on the Capitol.”
“It took a lot of players within the Republican party to convince the vast majority of their voters that the election was fraudulent,” Longwell added. “We are here to be an institutional memory of what happened and who said what.”
The billboards will be placed in each House member’s district, as well as in multiple cities in Texas and Missouri targeting Cruz and Hawley. Thursday’s launch is the first phase of the $1 million campaign, with additional billboards set to launch soon after. Cruz and Hawley aren’t up for reelection until 2024.
The nine other Republicans targeted in the campaign are: Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Louie Gohmert (Texas.), Madison Cawthorne (N.C.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Dan Bishop (N.C.)
“There's this whole segment of the population still out there who believes the election was illegitimate,” said Olivia Troye, a former national security advisor to Mike Pence, who is now director of the project. “And they're going to continue to believe that until these people are held accountable, or they resign and it's acknowledged that this was a lie.”
A video released Thursday night by the Republican Accountability Project compiles examples of Cruz, Hawley, Jordan, McCarthy and the other Republicans claiming without evidence that the 2020 election was tainted. The group will run it as an ad during Fox and Friends and Sean Hannity’s show all next week in each member’s congressional district and in Cruz and Hawley's states.
Neither Longwell nor Troye is optimistic that 17 Republicans will join Democrats to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. But they both said that voters and lawmakers need to be reminded of what happened on Jan. 6.
Longwell expressed frustration with Republicans’ calls for Democrats to drop the trail in the name of “unity.”
“They have a mantra of move on but we're not going to let them move on,” said Longwell. “Accountability is a prerequisite to unity.”