A Tea Party-affiliated political action committee that caused a stir in the US Senate race last week is now planning a weekend telethon to benefit Republican candidate Michael J. Sullivan, live from Reno, Nev.
“The telethon will broadcast live from Harrah’s Reno hotel, but we are never, ever to mention that we will be doing the telethon from Reno,” said an organizer’s e-mail, obtained by the Globe. “We want viewers to assume the broadcast will be taking place from Massachusetts.”
A Facebook page for the event puts its location in Boston.
The e-mail was circulated by Joseph Wierzbicki, a Tea Party leader and executive director of the Conservative Campaign Committee, which has been trying to rally conservatives across the nation to raise money for Sullivan.
Sullivan faces two other Republicans — Cohasset businessman Gabriel E. Gomez and state Representative Daniel B. Winslow — in the April 30 primary for the US Senate special election.
The telethon will be cohosted by fellow Tea Party member and PAC leader Lloyd Marcus, who inveighs against homosexuality on his blog.
His involvement in fund-raising for Sullivan led Gomez to hammer the Sullivan campaign in the past week and demand that he disavow the group. Sullivan condemned the anti-gay rhetoric on Tuesday.
Ryan Gill, a spokesman for the Conservative Campaign Committee, confirmed plans for the telethon, which aims to raise money for an aggressive ad push on Sullivan’s behalf.
The eight-hour telethon is scheduled to be streamed live online Sunday beginning at 4 p.m.
“We’re raising money to run ads in Massachusetts,” Gill said. “Where we are is irrelevant. We’re on the Internet.”
Sullivan campaign manager Paul Moore said he was unaware of the telethon and does not like the idea of competing for donor support with a third-party group. However, Moore added: “If and when there’s a message that’s false that another group or candidate puts up, Mike will be the first to demand that it be taken down.”
Unlike the Democratic Senate candidates, who made a pact to discourage independent groups from supporting their campaigns with TV ads, the Republicans left the field open to such involvement.
The Conservative Campaign Committee, previously known as the Committee to Defeat Barack Obama, was spun off from the Tea Party Express political action committee, Our Country Deserves Better, Gill explained.
Asked about the location of the telethon, Moore said, “We definitely prefer the help of people based in Massachusetts. . . . If they’re doing it live from Reno, they ought to be trying to affect politics in Nevada.”
Gomez, Sullivan release ads echoing campaign themes
Two of the three Republican US Senate candidates released television ads Thursday, hitting familiar themes from the past week of the campaign.
Michael J. Sullivan went on the attack against fellow candidate Gabriel E. Gomez, tying Gomez to President Obama in a new television ad.
Gomez released his own spot that the campaign said would begin showing next week, lumping Sullivan and state Representative Daniel B. Winslow in with the Democratic candidates as “career politicians.”
Sullivan’s ad uses a letter Gomez wrote to Governor Deval Patrick in January, putting his name forward to be appointed as interim senator for the seat formerly held by John Kerry.
“Gabriel Gomez wrote to Deval Patrick saying he ‘supported President Obama,’” a female narrator says in the 30-second spot, Sullivan’s first television ad.
“Gabriel Gomez, an Obama Republican,” the narrator intones, over a black and white picture of Gomez and gloomy music.
The music then turns hopeful as photos of Sullivan appear on screen. “Vote for the true independent Republican, Mike Sullivan,” the narrator says.
The ad will appear statewide on cable television and is expected to begin showing on Friday, though it is not clear how often it will play and how widely it will be seen.
Paul Moore, Sullivan’s campaign manager, declined to disclose how much the campaign was spending on the spot. Moore said he hoped to increase the size of the ad purchase in coming days.
Gomez’s ad starts by blaming “career politicians” for gridlock in Washington, depicting the other four Democratic and Republican candidates with on-screen pictures of their faces and labeling Sullivan, a former state legislator and federal prosecutor, as “a guy who’s been in politics two decades.”
A narrator lists Gomez’s background as businessman, Navy pilot, and SEAL.
A narrator outlines Gomez’s plans for term limits, a ban on members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, and a policy of blocking congressional salaries if Congress does not pass a budget.
“Gomez has a plan to clean up Congress,” intones the male narrator.
Gomez campaign spokesman Will Ritter declined to say what day the ad would begin to be shown, where it would run, whether it would run on cable or broadcast, or how much the campaign would spend on airtime.
While the Democratic contenders for the Senate seat, Representatives Edward J. Markey and Stephen F. Lynch, have been in heavy rotation on television in recent weeks, the Republican candidates have had a surprisingly small presence.
Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are set for April 30.