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 FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP Barbs start to fly ahead of first Democratic debate MORE; Mississippi, where Republican Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHillicon Valley: Democratic state AGs sue to block T-Mobile-Sprint merger | House kicks off tech antitrust probe | Maine law shakes up privacy debate | Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote Lawmakers demand answers on Border Patrol data breach Senators call on McConnell to bring net neutrality rules to a vote 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.