Another group is preparing to take to the airwaves to criticize Republican Senate hopeful Mark Jacobs.

American Heartland PAC has purchased air time in Iowa, according to filings, and its YouTube site has an ad that takes Jacobs to task on donations to Democrats and remarks he made on cap and trade while he was at Reliant Energy.

This is the second group to take on Jacobs, one of the front runners in the Senate nomination fight.

It's not clear whose interests it represents. It's a super PAC, meaning it can raise unlimited amounts of money.

Federal Election Commission filings said the political action committee formed last year, but in two reports it has filed, the PAC reported no donations or expenditures. Questions sent to it Tuesday afternoon were not immediately answered.

THE TV AD REFERS to campaign donations Jacobs made to former Sens. Arlen Specter and Jon Corzine and to comments he made while chief executive of Houston-based Reliant, when he said cap-and-trade legislation provided a "workable framework."

It also refers to his relatively short history as an Iowan. Jacobs moved to the state a couple years ago.

"No matter how hard he tries, Mark Jacob's millions can't hide the fact he's in the wrong state and the wrong party," the ad's narrator says.

Jacobs' campaign has said that his cap-and-trade comments reflected his position at the time and that he opposes it. And, they say, 90 percent of his political donations have gone to Republicans.

"The faceless DC special interests know they can’t control Mark Jacobs and have decided to do everything they can to prevent a political outsider and a proven business leader from coming to Washington to challenge the status quo," the campaign said.

THIS IS THE SECOND outside group to jump into the race, criticizing Jacobs.

An ad by an advocacy group called Trees of Liberty, began airing last month, also centering on the cap-and-trade issue.

Meanwhile, there were new developments in the flap over a website the Jacobs campaign put up criticizing rival, state Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Red Oak.

Last Friday, Jacobs' campaign put up the site taking Ernst to task for missing 42 percent of the votes in this year's session of the state Legislature.

It added she had been "AWOL" from the session.

That drew a sharp rebuke from Ernst, who is in the National Guard. She objected to using the term, "AWOL," calling it an insult to the men and women she serves with. She also noted the attack came as she was on Guard duty last weekend.

TUESDAY, SHE GOT SOME HELP from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who called the use of the term "offensive" and "inexcusable" and said she had a 90 percent voting record.

The Jacobs campaign said Tuesday it has removed "AWOL" from the site, but it defended its criticism of her voting record.

The campaign cited a Cedar Rapids Gazette report in March that said, despite Ernst citing Guard duty for missing votes this session, only a small number of those missed votes were due to her military service.

Jacobs and Ernst are among five Republicans seeking the party's Senate nomination. The others are Matt Whitaker, Sam Clovis and Scott Schaben.

Contact Ed Tibbetts at etibbetts@qctimes.com

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