American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-founded super-PAC, and its 501(c)(4) affiliate, Crossroads GPS, announced a $4.6 million ad buy Wednesday hitting six Democratic Senate candidates.
American Crossroads launched $2.6 million worth of ads running for two weeks in three states. The ads attack Democratic Senate candidates Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, Tim Kaine of Virginia and U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley of Nevada.
Crossroads GPS launched $2 million of issue ads against Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), as well as Democratic Senate Candidate Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.
Though the issue ads appear political, they do not advocate voting for or against any candidate, and therefore the Federal Elections Commission classifies them as issue ads. According to an analysis by The Huffington Post's Dan Froomkin and Paul Blumenthal, Crossroads GPS spent more than 50 percent of its budget on these type of ads in 2010.
Crossroads GPS, classifying itself as a nonprofit, does not have to disclose its donors, unlike American Crosssroads.
The ads are part of a larger blitz by Republican-aligned super PACs against Democratic candidates. A Bloomberg analysis showed that Kaine, McCaskill and Brown were being outspent by at least 3-to-1 by GOP-leaning outside groups.
UPDATE:Kaine's campaign hit back against the ad Wednesday. "Another day, another false attack ad by Karl Rove to help bail out George Allen's campaign," said Communications Director Brandi Hoffine in a statement. The release noted that the ad was "the third effort by Crossroads to buoy George Allen’s campaign with false, negative messaging."
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also attacked the ad buy. "Karl Rove is spending millions propping up George Allen, Rick Berg, Josh Mandel, and their fellow Republican Senate hopefuls because he knows these candidates will do the bidding for his special interest agenda in Washington. He wouldn’t be investing in these races if he didn’t think he was going to get loyal votes for his reckless policies in return," said spokesman Matt Canter.
"The special interest agenda Karl Rove is pushing puts private insurance companies, Big Oil, and millionaires ahead of seniors, small businesses, and the middle-class. Republicans know that this agenda is wrong for the middle-class and that’s why they’re launching misleading, desperate attacks to try and distract from their dangerous policies."
This story has been updated to reflect the DSCC's response.