Dems launch $950,000 ad campaign against Missouri GOP Senate challenger

Dems launch $950,000 ad campaign against Missouri GOP Senate challenger
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The Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action, two groups associated with the Democratic Party, are dropping nearly $1 million on a digital ad campaign against Missouri state Attorney General Josh Hawley (R), accusing him of only "fighting for his wealthy donors."

Hawley is widely expected to secure the Republican nomination in Missouri's Senate primary on Tuesday, likely setting him up to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Ex-Rep. Akin dies at 74 Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D-Mo.) for her seat in November.

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In an one of the digital spots, a narrator rattles off examples of how Hawley allegedly used his position as attorney general to help out political donors. 

"Josh Hawley looked the other way when one of his donors was accused of paying off a state lawmaker to do his bidding," the narrator says. "He launched an investigation of Google just days after taking contributions from a shady San Francisco billionaire."

"Josh Hawley is fighting for his wealthy donors — not our families," it continues.

Another ad features a photo of two people shaking hands and poses the question: "Will Josh Hawley look the other way if you donate to him?"

Hawley has previously said that his office's probe into Google was sparked by a massive data breach at Equifax and has denied it was influenced by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who donated $300,000 to Hawley’s 2016 campaign for attorney general.

Hawley has also denied the other allegation laid out in one of the ads – that Hawley ignored a pay-to-play scheme involving a prominent donor. He had argued previously that the attorney general’s office does not have jurisdiction over such cases. 

The pay-to-play allegation was investigated by the Missouri Ethics Commission, but was later dismissed.

Kelli Ford, a spokesperson for Hawley’s campaign, called the ads “absolutely false.”

The $950,000 digital ad campaign is Senate Majority PAC's latest investment in Missouri, one of the states targeted by Republicans as part of an effort to expand their majority in the Senate. President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE won the state in 2016 by more than 18 points, and Hawley is seen as one of the GOP's star recruits of the 2018 cycle.

Democrats are facing a tough Senate map in 2018. They're defending more than two dozen seats in all, including several in states won by Trump in 2016. Republicans, on the other hand, only need to protect nine seats.

The Senate Majority PAC previously said in June that it had reserved nearly $80 million in fall TV ads across nine states with competitive Senate races, including Missouri.

On Wednesday, it announced an additional $17 million in TV ad reservations for August in Missouri, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.