It’s silly season on television, as candidates compete on crowded airwaves for voters’ dwindling attention.

Last week, the National Republican Congressional Committee attacked Rep. John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowOur democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget Dem files Ethics complaint on Benghazi panel Barrow thanks staff in farewell speech MORE (D-Ga.) for voting for "outrageous" government spending, including studies on how monkeys act when they’re on cocaine, with an ad that featured a monkey — presumably on cocaine.

Sen. Mark PryorMark Lunsford PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) is attacking Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ DHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising MORE (R) with an ad this week that suggests Cotton voted to cut funding for programs that would protect against an Ebola outbreak.

ADVERTISEMENT
Alaska Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan uses the age-old trick of shooting something to make a point — in his case, a television, to emphasize his irritation with the influx of attack ads fueled by outside spending.

And New Mexico GOP Senate candidate Allen Weh is standing by a campaign video  touting him that features a shot of photojournalist James Foley's killer holding a knife, despite Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallCongress has been broken by the special interests – here’s how we fix it Senate GOP seeks to change rules for Trump picks Dems celebrate Jones victory in Alabama race MORE’s (D) campaign decrying the video.

But there’s a good reason why candidates stand by the stunts, and it’s the reason why voters will likely see more of them over the next two months: after hours of bland he-said she-said fact-filled attack ads, it’s the cocaine monkeys and Ebola scares that voters remember.



SENATE SHOWDOWN


AK-SEN (BEGICH): The International Association of Fire Fighters is out with a new ad backed by a little more than $160,000 tying GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan to the Koch brothers and suggesting they’re working to shut down a local oil refinery, which will eliminate jobs in the area. Sullivan’s out with an ad of his own, in which he decries outside spending and shoots a television, for emphasis.

MS-SEN (COCHRAN): State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s legal team responded Tuesday to an attempt by Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTrump's chief agricultural negotiator will fight for American farmers Rep. Cummings hospitalized, wife suspends gubernatorial campaign Medical cannabis community must join together and resist any action taken against us MORE (R) to have McDaniel’s legal challenge to Cochran’s runoff win thrown out because it was allegedly filed too late. McDaniel’s legal team argued the deadline cited by Cochran’s attorneys only relates to old election laws.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): In Chad Taylor's first TV ad, a 30-second spot set to hit airwaves Labor Day weekend, the two-term Shawnee County district attorney touts his Kansas roots — an implicit knock on incumbent Republican Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Canada tamps down worries about US NAFTA withdrawal Canada worried Trump will withdraw from NAFTA: report MORE, who’s faced questions about whether he still lives in Kansas.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): The Kentucky Opportunity Coalition’s new ad touts Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE’s (R-Ky.) work securing funds for Kentucky universities to “support high-tech innovation” and to start a new VA facility in the state. The ad runs statewide on TV and radio, backed by an $800,000 buy. McConnell's Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, on Tuesday countered by touting the endorsement of former secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In a statement, Albright called Grimes one of the "brightest young leaders in America." Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is reportedly heading to Kentucky to raise money for McConnell.

AR-SEN (PRYOR): A new ad from Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) cites the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to hit GOP opponent Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for cuts to medical and emergency programs. Meanwhile, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) endorsed Cotton, saying his life story is “admirable from an American point of view” and that Cotton has taken it upon himself to help fight back against “irrational jihadists.”

IA-SEN (OPEN): Democratic Rep. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE is essentially tied with Republican Joni Ernst — 41 to 40 percent, respectively, among likely voters — according to a new survey from Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, the latest indication the race is more of a challenge than Democrats had expected. In a two-person field, Braley and Ernst are statistically tied, each taking 42 percent of the vote.

NC-SEN (HAGAN): President Obama pecked Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven HaganPolitics is purple in North Carolina Democrats can win North Carolina just like Jimmy Carter did in 1976 North Carolina will be a big battleground state in 2020 MORE (D-N.C.) on the cheek Tuesday, shortly after landing in Charlotte, N.C., ahead of a speech on veterans affairs. It’s a kiss that’s likely to make headlines in North Carolina, where Hagan is running for reelection over North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis this fall in one of the fights that will determine whether the Senate majority stays in Democratic hands.

NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteLessons from Alabama: GOP, throw out the old playbook The Hill's 12:30 Report Explaining Democratic victories: It’s gun violence, stupid MORE has endorsed Scott Brown over two other Republicans vying for the chance to take on Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenSupreme Court to hear online sales tax case State official indicates US military role in Syria post-ISIS centered on Iran Overnight Health Care: Dems press HHS pick on drug prices | Alexander, Trump discuss ObamaCare fix | Senate Dems seek B to fight opioids | Maryland eyes ObamaCare mandate replacement MORE (D) this fall in a new ad that labels him Ayotte's “friend.” He’s also got the backing of real estate mogul Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE. Two GOP groups are also up with new ads hitting Shaheen, one suggesting she’s personally profited from her connections in Congress, another which ties her to Obama.

MI-SEN (OPEN): Democratic Rep. Gary Peters highlights his Michigan ties and independence in his first ad, a bio spot that also says he’s run his office so efficiently he’s returned money to the government and opposed congressional pay raises. Peters says in the ad that “government needs to do more with less.” His GOP opponent, former secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, also has a new ad out attacking Peters for allegedly allowing Michigan gas tax dollars to go to Washington rather than fixing the state’s roads.



BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

DCCC: House Democrats are launching a new campaign targeting 10 Republican candidates and incumbents they deem the “worst of the worst” offenders on women's issues via a scorecard that highlights their positions on a range of female-friendly legislation.

NH-02 (KUSTER): The Club for Growth launched a new ad calling former state Sen. Gary Lambert “laughably liberal” and touting state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, whom the group has endorsed to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kuster this fall.

CO-06 (COFFMAN): Endangered Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (Colo.) strikes a decidedly Democratic tone in his first ad, a 30-second spot highlighting his service as a Marine, his work to protect victims of sexual assault in the military and his efforts two decades ago as a state legislator to prevent health insurers from discriminating on the basis of gender.

CT-05 (ESTY): Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s first ad features a local Vietnam veteran touting her work to help secure his Social Security benefits. “Elizabeth got things done, and she got it done quick. She cares a lot about veterans, and she makes you feel like you’re part of her family,” he says.

NY-21 (OPEN): Democrat Aaron Woolf touts his commitment to “fighting for the things that matter” to women in the district in a new ad, a key voting bloc in his contest with Republican Elise Stefanik for retiring Rep. Bill Owens’s (D) seat.

IL-10 (SCHNEIDER): Former Rep. Bob Dold (R) portrays himself as a nonpartisan problem-solver in his new ad, which makes no reference to his tenure in Congress. “Running a small business, raising three kids, Dold knows we’ve got problems to solve,” the ad says.

FL-02 (SOUTHERLAND): A new ad from the National Republican Congressional Committee features average people hitting Democrat Gwen Graham, challenging targeted GOP Rep. Steve Southerland, for her support for ObamaCare. Graham, however, hit back win an ad of her own, in which she calls the attack “ridiculous” because she wasn’t in office when ObamaCare was passed and says that “ObamaCare’s got to be changed so it works.”

WV-2 (OPEN): GOP nominee Alex Mooney released his first general election ad, touting his opposition to ObamaCare, "Obama's war on coal" and his 100 percent NRA rating.



2016 WATCH


PAUL: Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year Despite amnesty, DACA bill favors American wage-earners MORE's wife, Kelley, said there are a few checkpoints left before the Kentucky Republican can decide whether to "pull the trigger" on a presidential run. "I wouldn't say that," she said, when asked on a local radio show if she is opposed to a White House bid. "I would say, though, that we just have a lot more talking to do about the subject."

In Rock Hill on Monday endorsing Rep. Mick Mulvaney's (R-S.C.) reelection bid, Paul called for a "bigger, better and bolder" Republican party.

SANDERS: Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (I-Vt.) is gearing up for a presidential primary challenge against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE and hopes to capitalize on Democratic concerns over Clinton’s coziness with Wall Street banks.

O’MALLEY: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is weighing a presidential bid, is reportedly sending more than two dozen staffers to states with competitive gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races, including, most notably, Iowa and New Hampshire. CNN reports he’s sending staffers to South Carolina as well.

RUBIO: Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (R-Fla.) warned President Obama on Tuesday that sweeping executive action on immigration would preclude any meaningful reform from Congress, writing in a letter, "If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future."


QUOTE OF THE DAY

“He has great hands.”

–Piedmont Medical Center’s chief medical officer, Dr. James Wood, on licensed ophthalmologist and potential 2016 candidate Rand Paul. The pair reportedly performed surgeries while both in Atlanta.