CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A former top adviser to President George W. Bush will raise money for Republican congressional challenger Evan Jenkins next week in West Virginia.
Karl Rove will headline a Sept. 9 fundraiser in Huntington, according to the Jenkins campaign. Rove was Bush's deputy chief of staff and senior adviser.
Rove spearheads an outside group that has already spent $330,000 in ads bashing Jenkins' opponent, Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall. Groups like Rove's Crossroads GPS legally can't coordinate with candidates, but Rove as an individual can do so.
Crossroads GPS is one of several conservative groups spending a combined total of millions in the 3rd Congressional District race. Nonprofits tied to the billionaire Koch brothers have also flooded the airwaves with attacks on Rahall.
Crossroads GPS and the other groups aim to tie Rahall to President Barack Obama's energy policies. Specifically, a proposal to limit carbon emissions from coal power plants has met stark opposition in West Virginia, where the mainstay coal industry is already dwindling.
Rahall and other West Virginia Democrats say they will buck the president on coal and other policies that are unpopular in the state.
Rahall is getting his own help from the liberal House Majority PAC, a super PAC shoveling millions into ads attacking Jenkins.
The Rahall campaign on Wednesday accused Jenkins of cozying up to wealthy conservative backers who want to scale back entitlement programs.
The Jenkins campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jenkins is a state senator who turned from Democrat to Republican to run. Rahall is seeking a 20th term in his coalfield-anchored district. He is one of the GOP's top 2014 targets.
Obama lost all 55 West Virginia counties in 2012, and the 3rd District liked him least. Its voters preferred Mitt Romney by 32 percentage points, the biggest margin of the state's three congressional seats.