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 McConnellMurkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify McConnell rips Democrats for handling of Kavanaugh nomination Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow 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 TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE’s endorsement of Republican businessman Mike Braun and hitting Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyKavanaugh becomes September surprise for midterm candidates Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow 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 BlackburnKavanaugh becomes September surprise for midterm candidates Poll: Democrat Bredesen leads GOP's Blackburn by 5 points in Tennessee Senate race Dems gain momentum 50 days before midterms 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 RosenOvernight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses Poll: Dean Heller running even against Democratic challenger Dems gain momentum 50 days before midterms MORE. The Senate Democratic nominee voted with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiPelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching GOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave 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 McCaskillDems gain momentum 50 days before midterms CBS Poll: Missouri, Montana Senate races in dead heats Dems play waiting game with Collins and Murkowski 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 FlakeGrassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt Murkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday MORE (Ariz.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioNYT says it was unfair on Haley curtain story Rubio defends Haley over curtains story: Example of media pushing bias House lawmakers urge top intel official to probe national security threat of doctored videos MORE (Fla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCriticizing Trump’s ‘unsung success’ in Puerto Rico is valid — empty rhetoric is not Biden: Delay Kavanaugh vote to give accuser a fair, respectful hearing Ken Starr says 'I trust Brett Kavanaugh' over allegations that are 'so wildly out of character' 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 HeitkampKavanaugh becomes September surprise for midterm candidates Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow 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 CoonsSunday shows preview: White House officials on offensive in wake of anonymous NY Times op-ed Congress and Trump are out of step on intellectual property White House drops plan to cut foreign aid MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAnother recession could hit US in 2019, says credit union association chief R-E-S-P-E-C-T: One legacy of Franklin and McCain is up to us To cure Congress, elect more former military members 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.