GOP-leaning group targets Senate Democrats

July 25, 2011 - 11:43 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Crossroads GPS, a conservative group connected to Republican strategist Karl Rove, is releasing a new ad campaign that targets five Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012 on taxes and spending, potent issues as President Barack Obama and Congress attempt to address the federal debt.

The group said it would spend $1.6 million to run ads through Aug. 6 that focus on Sens. Bill Nelson of Florida, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. The Democrats are all considered top targets by national Republicans and could determine whether Democrats maintain control of the Senate in 2013.

The ad campaign announced Tuesday features constituents urging the lawmakers to cut spending and not raise taxes. "No more blank checks," the constituents say in the ads, which promote a website by the same name, www.nomoreblankchecks.com.

Obama and Congress face an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a potential government default.

Crossroads and its affiliated organization, American Crossroads, spent $38.6 million in 2010 and were considered pivotal in helping Republicans capture control of the House and reduce the Democrats' margin in the Senate. The group has said it will spend $20 million this summer on a series of ads critical of Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate.

Crossroads GPS President and CEO Steven Law said Obama and Senate Democrats "have blown a massive hole in the deficit and it's time to take away their blank check."

The group is devoting more than $500,000 in Florida, nearly $300,000 in Ohio, nearly $250,000 in Missouri and at least $100,000 in Montana and Nebraska. The ad buy includes spending on online ads and production costs.

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Ken Thomas can be reached at http://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas