President Barack Obama will make a visit to Charlottesville, Va. on Friday to rally for Tom Perriello, the vulnerable freshman Democrat who has championed a number of White House causes in the past two years (see David Corn's recent profile of him). House races don't usually draw this much attention. Nor do they draw as much spending as Perriello's has—outside groups have already poured $4 million into the race.
Environmental groups have been among the biggest spenders for Perriello, whose unabashed support of the House climate and energy bill last year won him quite a bit of cred in green circles. The Sierra Club has spent $450,000 on the race, while the League of Conservation Voters has spent another $525,000 on TV and radio ads, phones calls, mailers and canvassing. Some of the ads talk up Perriello, while others bash his Republican opponent, state Sen. Robert Hurt.
Two environmental groups have also been among his top five contributors—LCV has directed $32,522 to his campaign committee, while Environmental Defense Fund has given him another $13,955. But those direct contributions are tiny compared to the independent expenditures in this race.
Recent polls show Perriello cutting into Hurt's early lead, with the Republican now averaging a four-point advantage.
Here's the latest ad from Sierra Club, which began running on Tuesday: