New Ad Blitzes Show West Is Midterm Battleground

New Ad Blitzes Show West Is Midterm Battleground

By Erin McPike - September 28, 2010

With fewer than six weeks to go until Election Day, the fiercest battleground in the country may be the West. Both sides are pouring money into the region, as evidenced by a series of ads launched today.

On the GOP side, the Chamber of Commerce started airing a TV ad against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in California, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new spot against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado. Democrats received a boost from the Service Employees International Union, which is airing radio ads in six states.

The SEIU teamed with Mi Familia Vota Civic Participation Campaign and Americas Voice for Spanish-language radio ads that focus on the Republican Party's stance on immigration. The $300,000 ad buy touches nine media markets in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Texas.

According to an announcement provided by SEIU, the ad buy "marks the beginning of a voter mobilization drive across the nation to hold politicians accountable for demonizing immigrants and blocking progress on common sense immigration reform." The ad admonishes GOP elected officials for blocking the DREAM Act in Congress last week that would have created a pathway to citizenship for about 2 million immigrants.

"Who opposed this bill? Who wants to quash our dreams?" the ad asks. "Republicans: The same people who opposed the extension of unemployment benefits" and "who try to deny immigrant rights in Arizona and other states."

The effort includes other voter mobilization components designed to urge Latino voters to go to the polls both in 2010 and 2012.

But the Right is making a push of its own as Democrats have tried to increase the number of states where they can compete in the Rocky Mountain region. In the traditional Democratic stronghold of California, the Chamber of Commerce's new ad blasts Boxer for her 28 years in Washington. An announcer says, "28 years: Making America less competitive and driving away California jobs." The ad is set to run for two weeks across the Golden State.

And in Colorado, the new NRSC ad goes after Bennet for voting to raise taxes and cut Medicare.

Democrats are leading in most Western Senate races other than Colorado, albeit by small margins. The RealClearPolitics polling averages show Boxer leading Republican challenger Carly Fiorina by six points and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington leading by slimmer margins. Bennet is two points behind Republican challenger Ken Buck.

But many of the competitive states both out West and in the Midwest feature both a Senate and a governor's race, and the Democratic Party's financial advantage could bolster their chances in those states.

Polling shows major statewide races moving away from Democrats in the Midwest and its surrounding areas, and political analysts have shifted many of their predictions in favor of Republican candidates in races in between the coasts. A Republican Senate operative confirmed that the National Republican Senatorial Committee canceled its ad buy in Kentucky this week because Republicans feel strongly that GOP Senate nominee Rand Paul is comfortably ahead of Democrat Jack Conway.

According to the RealClearPolitics polling averages, Democratic-held governorships in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin all lean to the GOP by at least eight percentage points. Top-tier Senate races are unfolding in four of those states, and Republicans are leading in each of them: Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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