WASHINGTON — The watchers are being watched.
For decades, opposition researchers have gone to great lengths to keep their names out of the public consciousness, preferring to let the fruits of their efforts — the location of a candidate’s primary residence, a gaffe caught by a tracker’s camera, a long-forgotten college prank — be the story.
But as some oppo research firms have increasingly come out of the shadows, they’ve suddenly turned their skills not on candidates of the opposite party — but each other.
Case in point: within hours of each other earlier this week Democrats and Republicans sent BuzzFeed News opposition research materials not about candidates, but literally about two opposition research firms: Democratic American Bridge and the Republican America Rising.
Opposition research can do real damage, and the two firms have produced that this cycle. A clip Rising uncovered of Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley dismissing a Republican senator as “a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school,” has dogged him for months.