WASHINGTON – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hammering Maine independent candidate Angus King and Democratic incumbents in Montana and Ohio in a new round of ads designed to help Republicans grab control of the Senate.
The ads, which begin airing Tuesday, focus on King's fiscal record as governor, criticize Montana Sen. Jon Tester on health care and energy and weigh in against Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown for his votes on energy. Tester and Brown have been top targets of the Chamber for months as the nation's largest business lobbying group has spent tens of millions of dollars in some eight Senate races and dozens of House contests.
King, seen as likely to side with Democrats if he wins, was the subject of a Chamber ad in July.
Rob Engstrom, national political director for the Chamber, declined to say how much the group was spending for the ads that will air for 10 days to two weeks, simply calling them a "massive buy." In the July round, the Chamber spent more than $914,000 against Brown, $257,000 against Tester and $400,000 opposing King, according to independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
With Democrats holding a slim majority in the Senate – 51-47, plus two independents who usually vote with the Democrats – the National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP-leaning groups are investing tens of millions in roughly a dozen races, some with vulnerable Democratic incumbents or open seats.