Biden attack ads featuring his comments on race to be launched by right-wing group

Ginger Gibson

Club for Growth, a conservative political group, will launch new attack ads against Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden targeting his past statements about race next week.

The ads, which come amid criticism of Mr Biden’s work with segregationists in the 1970s, will run during his first Democratic debate appearance.

The decision to attack Mr Biden is based on internal polling Club for Growth conducted that has been viewed by Reuters.

The ads will air on MSNBC and NBC stations in Des Moines, Iowa, according to the organisation.

Iowa holds the nation's first nominating contest.

Club for Growth, whose stated top policy goals include reducing income tax rates, a full repeal of Obamacare and reducing the size of the federal government, will never back a Democrat for president, but it is wading into the Democratic primary likely because Mr Biden poses the greatest risk to Donald Trump's re-election bid.

Early national polling and surveys in important swing states have repeatedly shown Mr Biden beating Mr Trump in a hypothetical match up.

Club for Growth's poll found voters were less inclined to vote for Mr Biden if they were told he had previously taken positions that included opposing slavery reparations and busing of school children as part of desegregation systems.

"Joe Biden’s past statements and positions on race issues present a serious challenge to his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination according to our polling," Club for Growth president David McIntosh said in a statement to Reuters.

"This poll and the coming ad are designed to help voters and observers of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary understand the field as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the frontrunner, former vice president Joe Biden."

Mr Biden, who has consistently been the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, drew sharp criticism from his Democratic rivals this week when he pointed to the "civility" during his early time in the US Senate in the 1970s when he worked with segregationists.

He has refused to apologise, pointing out that he opposed segregationists.

Mr Biden is one of two dozen Democrats vying to challenge Mr Trump in the November 2020 election. The Democrats will go head-to-head in Miami next week in their first debate.

The Club for Growth poll - which included 1,000 voters in the 18 states that are the first to hold primary contests - reaffirmed Mr Biden's position as a frontrunner.

It found, like other polls, that Mr Biden's lead is being fuelled largely by black voters. The poll found 46 per cent of black voters, 29 per cent of Hispanic voters and 33 per cent white voters are backing Mr Biden.

The poll found Mr Biden followed by US senator Bernie Sanders and then senator Elizabeth Warren.

The research also looked more closely at the four states that conduct the first nominating contests: Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

In those states Mr Biden leads, but Ms Warren edges out Mr Sanders - a possible sign of her growing support in states that are pivotal for the primary contest.

The poll was conducted 10-13 June by Republican polling firm WPAi Intelligence.

Reuters