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National group targets Mears in last-minute attack ad blitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Republican prosecutor candidate Cyndi Carrasco said Wednesday she was unaware of an attack ad campaign against her opponent until it began.

This week, a group called the Protecting Americans Action Fund launched $350,000 worth of attack ads against Democrat Ryan Mears, who is running for a full term as Marion County prosecutor. The ads target Mears over murders committed by people who were on his office’s radar, including the FedEx shooter. A spokesperson for Carrasco’s campaign said nobody on her campaign knew about the ads until they began airing. Similar ads are airing on radio and television in Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, the Quad Cities and South Florida. Each of them follow a common theme: The Democratic candidate in that county’s race for prosecutor is letting criminals run free while the Republican will put protecting the public first.

Federal campaign finance documents show the Protecting Americans Action Fund was formed during the summer of 2021 and is based in McLean, Va., a common address of record for many political action committees. The organization had about $2.1 million on hand as of Oct. 19. Its top donors include Georgia-based gambling machine manufacturer Pace-O-Matic, which has donated $200,000 to date, and the American Bail Coalition, which chipped in $25,000. The group’s website says its goal is to elect “conservative, rule of law prosecutors.”

Mears’ campaign said of the ad buy:

“Unfortunately, this sort of divisive behavior has become the norm in national politics. It is disheartening to see out of state or national dark money tactics being used to influence a down-ballot, county-wide race.”

Carrasco’s campaign said:

“Over the past three years, Ryan Mears has had an opportunity, and an obligation, to keep our communities safe – and he has failed. And while his efforts are being funded by criminal defense attorneys, our campaign is being funded by everyday people who are concerned with the violence, and don’t want Indianapolis to become another San Francisco or Chicago.”

News 8 contacted the Protecting Americans Action Fund. The group was not able to make a representative available before deadline.