In a fairly telling early expenditure in the general election cycle, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is going up on air with an ad attacking Kentucky Democratic candidate Jack Conway for his support of health care reform.
"When the U.S. Senate debated a government takeover of health care, Conway supported it," the ad goes. "When other states took the Obama health care law to court, Attorney General Jack Conway refused. When Obama and Pelosi cut hundreds of billions from Medicare, Conway still said yes. Big government running health care, big cuts to Medicare, Jack Conway took their side."
What is noteworthy is not the subject matter. Conway's backing of health care legislation has long been a focal point in the debate between him and Republican opponent Rand Paul. Rather, it's the fact that the NRSC, in what seems to be its first ad of the 2010 cycle, is spending money this early on in Kentucky, of all states.
This should be a reliably Republican seat. And it very well could have been had Paul not ended up the GOP nominee. As a Democratic operative who passed the ad on to the Huffington Post noted: "They keep talking about taking the majority, but they're playing defense in a red state, red seat."
The NRSC did not immediately return a request for comment as to how much money is being spent on the ad. But a Democrat ad-tracker tells the Huffington Post that the spot has at least $250,000 behind it (in just Lexington and Louisville alone) and will begin airing today.
UPDATE: A Republican source writes the Huffington Post in defense of the ad, arguing that the spot is designed to put the Kentucky Senate race out of their reach quickly or at least stretch the DSCC thin by forcing it to spend money in a "red state" in October on a candidate whose election remains an uphill battle.