McConnell-linked group targets Democrats in five red states

McConnell-linked group targets Democrats in five red states
© Greg Nash

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a Republican fundraising group affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' MORE (R-Ky.), on Tuesday announced a new $5.65 million advertising blitz hitting Democratic candidates in five battleground states: Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee.

The media buy funds a new round of negative television, cable and radio ads hitting Democratic candidates who have posted surprisingly good numbers in red states in recent polls.

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The group will spend $1.4 million on ads in Indiana highlighting President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE’s endorsement of Republican businessman Mike Braun and hitting Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Anti-corruption group hits Congress for ignoring K Street, Capitol Hill 'revolving door' K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (D) as “somebody that says something when you’re in Indiana and does something differently when you’re in D.C.”

An NBC/Marist poll last week showed Donnelly leading Braun by 6 points, a big surprise in a state that some Republicans are counting as a pickup.

Another NBC/Marist survey showed former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, leading his GOP opponent, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Senate GOP blocks bill to require campaigns report foreign election assistance MORE, by 2 points.

To blunt Bredesen's momentum, SLF is spending $1.1 million on a new round of broadcast, cable, radio and digital ads hitting him for supporting tax increases over his career.

The narrator in one ad charges Bredesen with raising taxes and fees by nearly $1 billion and slams him for criticizing Trump’s tax cuts as morally wrong.

“Phil Bredesen is out of touch,” the ad declares.

A new $1 million ad blitz in Nevada, meanwhile, is hitting Rep. Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenFemale senators hatch plan to 'shame' Senate into voting faster Female senators hatch plan to 'shame' Senate into voting faster Lawmakers introduce legislation to improve cyber workforce funding MORE. The Senate Democratic nominee voted with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi hits Trump on health care: His 'cruel hypocrisy knows no bounds' Pelosi hits Trump on health care: His 'cruel hypocrisy knows no bounds' On The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill MORE (D-Calif.) earlier this year against government funding resolutions that failed to help young immigrants exposed to deportation because Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“Rosen fell in line with Nancy Pelosi and repeatedly voted to shut down the government, holding health care funding for low-income children hostage,” a narrator charges.

SLF is also hitting Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Lobbying world MORE (D-Mo.) over immigration with a new $1.8 million ad buy in Missouri.

A new television ad juxtaposes a statement McCaskill made in 2006 opposing amnesty for immigrants in the country illegally to her 2013 vote in favor of a bipartisan immigration bill that created a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people.

“In Washington, McCaskill joined the liberals for giving amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants without border protections in place,” the ad charges. “After 12 years in the Senate, McCaskill’s gone Washington and left Missouri behind.”

The bill also had support from Republicans such as Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (Ariz.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' MORE (Fla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by MAPRx — Biden, Sanders to share stage at first DNC debate MORE (S.C.).

An NBC/Marist poll last week showed McCaskill tied with her Republican opponent, Josh Hawley, at 47 percent.

In North Dakota, a new $350,000 ad buy is hitting Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampLobbying World Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA On The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight MORE (D) as someone who “rubberstamps the Washington liberal agenda.”

The ad highlights Heitkamp’s support for the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill as well as for former President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

It also points to her support for a bipartisan immigration bill backed by Sens. Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsSenate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Senate Dem to reintroduce bill with new name after 'My Little Pony' confusion Senate Democrat: Trump Mexico tariff threat 'hopefully' a breaking point for GOP MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.) that provided a pathway to citizenship for more than 1 million immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

The Senate Leadership Fund’s president and CEO, Steven Law, is McConnell’s former chief of staff.

--This report was updated at 4:53 p.m.