Early Senate ad wars key on six states

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) announced its first ad buys of the cycle in four crucial states Tuesday, creating a slate of six states where the first national battles of the 2008 Senate race are being waged.

National Republicans and Democrats are now both playing in half a dozen states — Colorado, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon.

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The GOP just started last week, though, and is well behind the pace of its wealthier Democratic counterpart.

Tuesday’s NRSC buys totaled about $1.4 million, the committee said, and included its first ads in Colorado, an open GOP seat; Minnesota, where incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman faces Democratic opponent Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE; Mississippi, where Republican Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Bottom line GOP rallies around Trump after firing of Manhattan US attorney MORE was appointed after Sen. Trent Lott (R) retired; and Oregon, where incumbent GOP Sen. Gordon Smith is in tight reelection battle. The committee also launched a new ad in North Carolina.

The committee spent $280,000 in Colorado, $310,000 in Minnesota, $160,000 in Mississippi, $190,000 in Oregon and $450,000 in North Carolina.

Previously, the NRSC spent about a half million dollars supporting North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole and $590,000 supporting New Hampshire Sen. John Sununu. It began its ad buys on Sept. 2.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has spent more than $10 million thus far in those six states and hasn’t spent much elsewhere, according to Federal Election Commission reports available Tuesday.

Neither committee has thus far launched an ad buy in Alaska, New Mexico or Virginia — all GOP-held open seats that heavily favored the Democrats in early polling.

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens (R), however, seems to have narrowed the gap in recent days, potentially throwing that seat back into play.

The NRSC pulled out of a $2.3 million ad buy in New Mexico last week.

Neither committee is buying ads in Louisiana, the top GOP target, either.