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 McConnellFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden Lawmakers reach agreement on bipartisan Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans 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.


The group will spend $1.4 million on ads in Indiana highlighting President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE’s endorsement of Republican businessman Mike Braun and hitting Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans fret over divisive candidates Everybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives 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 BlackburnHillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base 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 RosenHillicon Valley: Parler app risks charges of selling out with Apple return | Justices hear First Amendment clash over cheerleader's Snapchat | Google pressed to conduct racial equity audit Lawmakers introduce legislation to create civilian reserve program to fight hackers Bipartisan Senate proposal would grant million to minority businesses MORE. The Senate Democratic nominee voted with House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGohmert says Jan. 6 mob attack on Capitol not an 'armed insurrection' Meghan McCain: Greene 'behaving like an animal' GOP Rep. Turner to lead House push to address military sexual assault 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 McCaskillMissouri Republicans move to block Greitens in key Senate race Democratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run Demings asked about Senate run after sparring with Jordan on police funding 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 FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Republican reactions to Cheney's removal Flake: No greater offense than honesty in today's Republican Party Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (Ariz.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey signs daylight savings bill Study: Early unemployment cutoff would cost 16M people 0B The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (Fla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP Graham warns about trying to 'drive' Trump from GOP: 'Half the people will leave' 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 HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives 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 CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden to go one-on-one with Manchin US, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 MORE (D-Del.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRepublicans have dumped Reagan for Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP 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.