Planned Parenthood blasts Gardner, Sullivan in new ads

Planned Parenthood's political affiliates are launching new ads designed to sway women voters against Republican Senate candidates before Tuesday's election.

In Alaska, Planned Parenthood Votes is airing a radio ad highlighting Republican Dan Sullivan's support for the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. The former Alaska attorney general is challenging Sen. Mark BegichMark Peter BegichAlaska Senate race sees cash surge in final stretch Alaska group backing independent candidate appears linked to Democrats Sullivan wins Alaska Senate GOP primary MORE (D).


And in Colorado, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards is urging women not to trust Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerHillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities Democrats vent to Schumer over Senate majority failure MORE (R) because of his opposition to abortion rights. Gardner is running to unseat Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallHickenlooper ousts Gardner in Colorado, handing Democrats vital pickup Live updates: Democrats fight to take control of the Senate The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (D).

Planned Parenthood said it will follow the ads with its largest-ever get-out-the-vote effort on Tuesday.

"The campaign … makes clear that [abortion rights and birth control] are health and economic issues for women and their families, not a political talking point to be dismissed," the group said in a statement.

The 2014 midterms will test Planned Parenthood's effectiveness in an election year that is expected to be rough on incumbent Democrats.

Even with the Senate increasingly likely to turn red next Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's executive director Dawn Laguens said she is “actually optimistic” that women’s health issues will still see a victory.

“In a major shift from previous midterms, we’re seeing candidates reverse or moderate their previous positions to avoid being cast as anti-women,” she told reporters.

“It’s becoming clearer and clearer that you cannot win if you’re perceived as an opponent to [the issues],” she said.

Laguens pointed to tight Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina, where the battle between incumbent Sen. Kay HaganKay Ruthven Hagan10 under-the-radar races to watch in November The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic Unity Taskforce unveils party platform recommendations Democrats awash with cash in battle for Senate MORE (D) and State GOP Speaker Thom Tillis is already one of the costliest in the country.

Planned Parenthood has already spent $3 million in North Carolina and $3.8 million in Colorado.

The 2014 elections have marked Planned Parenthood’s largest-ever campaign blitz, with a commitment to spend at least $16 million throughout the fall.

So far, it seems to being paying off, Laguens said. In recent polls, Democrats are winning the women’s vote by 7 percentage points, compared to the 2010 elections in which the party lost the women’s vote by 1 percentage point.

The group was also considered one of the most savvy players in 2012, using a series of abortion-related gaffes by GOP candidates to bolster the "war on women" narrative.

Part of its playbook this year is leveraging celebrity supporters such as "Girls" creator and star Lena Dunham to turn out younger women at the polls.

- Sarah Ferris contribued to this post, which was updated at 3:10 p.m.