Incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is on the defensive after being hit by an onslaught of negative ads from conservative groups and her Republican challengers. “I feel like an underdog,” McCaskill told the Kansas City Star in an interview Sunday. "But I do I know my state pretty well."
The senator's connection to President Barack Obama -- the two are close friends, and she was an early supporter of his -- could hurt her in the swing state. Republicans are targeting McCaskill's votes in favor of the president's health care reform bill and economic stimulus, and her support of the Obama administration's contraception mandate.
McCaskill has responded with two radio spots of her own. One ad positions her toward the middle on abortion and contraception. "Claire McCaskill is fighting to prevent abortion. … No government can tell a woman whether she can use birth control," the ad states. It also combats the image that she is too close to the president, saying "She stood up to the Obama administration to stop regulations that would cost Missouri jobs."
The other ad criticizes negative campaign tactics, stating, "We're better than this. Every election year it's the same: lies and extortions paid for by out of towners. ... No one believes what they're saying about Claire McCaskill."
Missouri's tossup senate contest is one of a handful of races that will be crucial in determining which party gains a majority in the upper chamber.
Three GOP candidates are hoping to challenge McCaskill in November: former State Treasurer Sarah Steeman, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), and businessman Jon Brunner.
10 more election stories from beyond the presidential field:
Lugar Goes Negative, Ad Calls Mourdock 'Desperate' [TPM]
Scott Brown Collects Twice The Signatures Needed For Mass. Ballot [Boston Globe]
Barbara Boxer Makes Democratic Primary Endorsement After Controversial Mailer [Politico]
Michele Bachmann Thrown Into New District By Redistricting [Rochester Post-Bulletin]
David Dewhurst Gaining On Ted Cruz [Texas Tribune]
All Eyes On Albuquerque In Race For Open Seat [Roll Call]
DCCC Creates Website Tracking Candidate's Many Scandals [DCCC]
Why Hoekstra Hearts Cain's '9-9-9' Plan [National Journal]
Poll Shows Jon Bruning Close To 50 Percent [Politico]
Ohio Newspaper Half-Heartedly Endorses Josh Mandel [The Hill]
Earlier on HuffPost: