National Democrats will launch television ads on Friday that tie GOP Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez to his national party.
Republicans argue the ads, which will run just three weeks before a special election, suggest Democrats are worried about Gomez, who is considered the underdog in the Democratic-leaning state to Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.).
Nearly every poll in the race has Gomez sticking to within single digits of Markey, suggesting he has a chance at pulling off a repeat of former Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) 2010 Senate special election upset. The two are vying for Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) old seat.
"Gabe Gomez is in lock step with national Republicans on the issues that matter most to Massachusetts, and it’s important for voters to know that," he said.
Washington's congressional Republicans suffer from dismal poll numbers, so it makes sense for Democrats to try to tie Gomez to them, particularly in a state where President Obama is popular.
The most recent poll released Thursday by the League of Conservation voters, which has endorsed Markey, showed the Democrat up by eight percentage points — a gain of 1 point since their last poll in May.
But the move could show some concert among Democrats, too. President Obama will head to the state to campaign for Markey next week, just as he did for 2010 Democratic nominee Martha Coakley, weeks before she lost to Brown.
National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Brook Hougesen said Markey "is struggling to make it through the end of this campaign," causing Democrats to spend for him — which is "showing panic."
"Markey is so stagnant that they've had to send the president and first lady to Massachusetts, and now Senate Democrats are forced to spend money they never anticipated in a desperate attempt to drag Markey across the finish line in a navy-blue state," she said in an email.
"Either Democrats are far more worried than they let on or they are throwing money away — either way they are showing panic."
But Barasky pushed back against that suggestion, saying that it's just an indication Democrats are fighting hard for the seat.
"Democrats have said from day one that we will take nothing for granted in this race. It’s clear that Ed Markey has a strong lead that will grow as voters learn more about Gomez’s support for the national Republican agenda.”
A major Democratic super-PAC, Majority PAC, is also going up with a
statewide advertising buy for Markey, which will be backed by $500,000.
"Gabriel Gomez is clearly out of touch with Massachusetts voters and the only play in his playbook is to distort Ed Markey’s record,” said Craig Varoga, senior strategist for Senate Majority PAC.
“We will not stand idly by while Mitch McConnell and national Republicans try to use backdoor dollars to buy this race for Gomez.”
Democrats have charged a recent ad buy made by the Massachusetts GOP and the Gomez campaign was secretly funded by a transfer of funds from the NRSC.
Gomez is still struggling to make his message stick; heavily outspent on air and lacking support from outside Republican groups, Gomez has focused much of his resources on introducing himself to the voters of Massachusetts.
A new ad he released on Thursday, just weeks from Election Day, seeks to do just that. The 30-second spot seeks to frame Gomez as "a new kind of Republican," a message he's been pushing throughout the campaign to emphasize his independence from the national party.
"If you're looking for a rigid partisan I'm not your guy. If you're looking for a slick-talking politician, I'm definitely not your guy," he says in the ad.