McConnell-linked group targets Democrats in five red states

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), a Republican fundraising group affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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 Trump's endorsement of Republican businessman Mike Braun and hitting Sen. Joe Donnelly (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 Blackburn, 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 Rosen. The Senate Democratic nominee voted with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (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year against government funding resolutions that failed to help young immigrants exposed to deportation because Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.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 McCaskill (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 Flake (Ariz.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (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 Heitkamp (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 Coons (D-Del.) and John McCain (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.

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