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Senate Races

Senate Races Burst With Negative Ads

If you want attack ads by independent groups, Senate races are where it's at right now.

In the presidential race, it seems that independent groups left the back-and-forth bashing to the candidates themselves over the last week. But some Senate races are humming with negative ads.

Colorado's hot open-seat between former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) and current Rep. Mark Udall (D) has attracted five ads from different groups this week. Conservatives have the edge with three anti-Udall ads (538 spots on the air) versus two anti-Schaffer ads (241 spots on the air), according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The New Mexico Senate race is also getting attention, with one ad against Rep. Steve Pearce (R) and another attacking Democrat Tom Udall (D). (The Udalls, by the way, are cousins.) Two business-backed groups — Employee Freedom Action Committee and Coalition for a Democratic Workplace — are hitting a slew of Senate races with what they hope will be a wedge issue to hurt Democrats: secret ballots in union elections. On the other side, the Service Employees International Union is running ads against vulnerable Republican incumbents John Sununu (NH) and Gordon Smith (OR).

All in all, independent groups spent about $1.9 million on Senate races in the last week, according to CMAG. And no one is pulling punches.