Sep 16, 2010 5:17 PM by Melissa Canone
WASHINGTON (AP) - Signaling the next stage in the general
election campaign, the Republican Party and outside groups are
airing new rounds of advertising in some of the most competitive
Senate battlegrounds, ramping up spending and the negative tone of
the political season.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has the biggest footprint, spending
$1 million in Florida against Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running
for the Senate as an independent. The chamber has endorsed the
Republican candidate, Marco Rubio.
The chamber is spending $500,000 in Kentucky against Democrat
Jack Conway. The chamber this week endorsed Republican Rand Paul,
and it is spending about $300,000 in New Hampshire against Senate
Democratic candidate Paul Hodes and $250,000 in Colorado against
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue has pledged to spend up
to $75 million this election, rivaling the money spent by the
Ads by the conservative Club for Growth Action and the National
Republican Senatorial Committee join those by the chamber that
portray Democratic Senate candidates as big spenders who have not
been able to bring the economy under control.
The liberal MoveOn.org is countering in two states - New
Hampshire and Kentucky - with anti-Chamber of Commerce ads that
link Republican Senate candidates to corporate interests and accuse
the chamber of abusing its status as a nonprofit trade
MoveOn's ads hit both Kentucky's Paul and New Hampshire
Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte for their support from the
chamber. It would not disclose the amount spent on the commercials,
which air for a week statewide in both states.
MoveOn has teamed up with Media Matters Action Network and
ThinkProgress.org, two other liberal groups, to pounce on the
chamber's political activities. A labor-backed group, U.S. Chamber
Watch, last week filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue
Services claiming the chamber improperly handled millions of
dollars from a group linked to insurance conglomerate AIG. The
chamber denies it did anything improper.
Other ads that began airing this week:
-Club for Growth Action launched ads attacking Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid in Nevada as well as Bennet in Colorado and
Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. It also is airing ads
against Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and
Crist in Florida. Altogether, the Club for Growth is spending $1.5
-The National Republican Senatorial Committee also began airing
an ad against Bennet, making him among the most marked Senate
candidates. The ad is the second independent commercial by the
NRSC. It recently aired an ad in Kentucky aimed at Conway.
-Commonsense Ten, a new group allied with Democrats, began
airing an ad in Kansas City, Mo., targeting Rep. Roy Blunt, the
Republican Senate candidate. It cites Blunt's unsuccessful efforts
in 2003 to insert pro-tobacco provisions into a homeland security