Democratic groups launching ad against McConnell

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The campaign will run through Election Day and will feature future television ads, as well as mailers, radio and digital ads, phone calls, email, social media and standalone websites.

The kickoff ad repeats a clip of McConnell saying "I've lived on a government salary for 30 years" as the screen flashes details on his record, noting his votes to raise congressional pay, for the financial bailout and for cuts to Medicare.

"Mitch McConnell 'has long ceased to serve the state,'" the video reads, a quote from a blistering Courier-Journal editorial.

"After 30 years … it's time to switch."

It will be backed by a minimum $250,000 buy and will run statewide in Kentucky.

Senate Majority PAC's choice to make McConnell one of its first targets this cycle — it's spent heavily in the Massachusetts Senate race, but hadn't yet launched air attacks on incumbent Republicans — reflects the belief among Democrats that McConnell's one of the most vulnerable Republicans heading for reelection this cycle.

The groups cite Democratic polling that has shown McConnell to be one of the most unpopular Senators in the nation, and vulnerable to a potential Democratic opponent.

McConnell is aware of the target on his back, however — he's already gone on air with ads of his own, featuring his wife criticizing attacks from a progressive group, and he's been working to build his image as a fighter for Kentucky.

McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton tied the new ad to previous attacks from Democratic groups and said the heavy Democratic offense may actually be improving McConnell's support.

""From office buggings, to racist tweets about Mitch's wife, to the constant stream of negative ads, Barack Obama's allies are desperate to attack Senator McConnell at all costs," he said. "The increasingly unhinged attacks by Washington liberals only reaffirm Kentuckians' pride in Mitch McConnell for fighting to protect Kentucky from Obama's bad ideas."

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring suggested that Senate Majority PAC would frustrate incumbent red-state Democrats by spending on McConnell, which he said is akin to "lighting their resources on fire."

"Endangered red-state Democratic Senators like Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, and Kay Hagan must be thrilled that Harry Reid's super-PAC is lighting their resources on fire in Kentucky rather than helping them to protect their seats from being lost," he said.

He also noted that Democrats have been unable to convince their top remaining recruit, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, to jump in the race.

"Though may be the most reluctant candidate in America, nonetheless Democrats are desperate to find a sacrificial lamb in Kentucky and if they want to burn their resources in the process that's just fine with us," he said.

--This piece was updated at 12:14 p.m. to clarify polling on McConnell's popularity.