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October Bombardment, Part II: Senate Edition

by Will Evans
Oct 9, 2008

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Just as the presidential race is awash with new attack ads, Senate candidates face a crushing wave of messages from outside groups as well. Here, we feature the American Energy Alliance, Americans for Job Security, Freedom's Watch, Health Care for America Now and VoteVets. And they just keep coming. Let's start in Oregon:

Freedom's Watch
The conservative casino magnate-funded group blasts Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Merkley of Oregon on taxes. In the ad, a driver listens to the car radio, which broadcasts a caller on talk radio saying he's upset that Merkley wants to raise taxes. The radio host confirms, "You're right, I saw that on TV." The fictional host may have seen it on TV because Freedom's Watch recently broadcast an another ad about it. So, try to follow this: the TV ad cites a radio caller who is backed up by a radio host who cites a TV ad.

American Energy Alliance
We travel east to Kentucky, where this conservative group with ties to the oil industry is spending $108,000 on a radio ad against Bruce Lunsford, the Democratic challenger to the newly vulnerable Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The ad blames Lunsford for the Kentucky system of taxing gas, calling it the "Lunsford gas tax." It says, "Nobody likes paying more at the pump — unless you're Bruce Lunsford." The ad echoes an earlier TV ad by McConnell, which was analyzed by Factcheck.org.

Travel on to New Hampshire and North Carolina...

Health Care for America Now
Up in New Hampshire, this coalition of unions and liberal groups has a TV ad faulting Sen. John Sununu (R) for sponsoring a bill "that would let insurance companies make the rules" on health care. It features a feisty cancer survivor, just like the group's cookie-cutter ads targeting John McCain and several Republican members of Congress. The group plans to spend $4.3 million on the advertising effort and another $500,000 on mail and phone calls.

Americans for Job Security
Swinging down to North Carolina, we find this controversial conservative group reporting an outlay of $190,000 to attack Democratic Senate candidate Kay Hagan, who is running against Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R). We detailed the group's previous ads and background here, but we don't have a copy of the North Carolina ad yet.

VoteVets
Also in North Carolina, this liberal veterans group is spending $200,000 on a TV ad that attacks Dole for voting against better body armor for American troops.

The ad is an exact replica of the much-discussed ads the group ran against Republican senators in 2006. Hey, if it worked once, try it again, right?

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