Senate Dems take aim at Republican incumbent - using Snapchat

The Snapchat filter that will greet users at Sen. Jeff Flake’s townhall on Thursday.
The Snapchat filter that will greet users at Sen. Jeff Flake’s townhall on Thursday. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Senate Democrats are taking aim at one of the GOP’s most vulnerable incumbents over his vote that could allow internet service providers to sell people’s browsing history.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is placing a filter on Snapchat, the social media app available on smartphones, that will appear when users attend Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s town-hall meeting Thursday in Mesa, Arizona.

“Senator Flake sold out my online privacy,” says the filter, which will accompany pictures taken at the town hall if Snapchat users so choose. The ad is geo-targeted to the event.

Lat month, Republicans and Flake, a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, voted to block an Obama-era rule forbidding internet service providers from selling their customers’ internet histories. It’s an issue Democrats think makes the GOP politically vulnerable, and one the party strategists say they’ll continue to push in the months ahead.

Republicans say blocking the regulation will give customers more choice over how and whether their data is shared.

Democrats view Flake as the second most vulnerable Senate Republican up for re-election in 2018 – behind Nevada’s Dean Heller – though Republicans are confident that the first-term senator will win any re-election campaign.

Senate Democrats have few opportunities to play offense in next year’s midterm elections, thanks to a map that includes 10 Democratic incumbents defending states that President Donald Trump won last year.

The use of Snapchat, a popular app among younger voters, for political ads is still a novel idea in politics, although Senate Republicans have used it for years.

Alex Roarty: 202-383-6173, @Alex_Roarty