Dems Flood South with Attack Ads in Bid to Retain Senate

Monday, 19 May 2014 12:36 PM

By Melanie Batley

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An aggressive television advertising campaign by the Senate Majority PAC is already paying dividends for the Democratic Party in some highly contested races for vulnerable incumbents.

The group, formed in 2011 by former aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has been spending heavily and early in races that could determine which party ends up with control of the Senate after the November elections, according to The Daily Beast.

The Senate Majority PAC is spending in nine states and is in the middle of a two-week, $850,000 campaign against Thom Tillis, the Republican challenger in North Carolina, where the PAC has so far spent the most to try to prevent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan from losing her seat, The Daily Beast reported.

In Arkansas, Rep. Tom Cotton, the GOP's star challenger against Sen. Mark Pryor, has seen his support plummet by 10 points in the latest round of polling after being bombarded by a negative ad campaign.

The advertisements, however, have been criticized for inaccuracies. For example, The Washington Post Fact-Checker awarded four Pinocchios for one ad created by the PAC against Cotton, The Daily Beast said.

"In the old days, groups would have to make choices — spend early or spend late, when people are making their decisions. There's so much money now they say, what the heck, spend early, see if it moves the needle, and if it doesn’t, you can still raise more money," Stuart Rothenberg of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, told The Daily Beast.

"Everybody's fast and loose with the facts these days. This is the current system, and the Senate Majority PAC has been a big player."

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