Independent Expenditures Turn from Trickle to Flood in CT Senate Race

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The trickle of ads from outside groups supporting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chris Murphy is about to increase dramatically  in the waning weeks of the 2012 race, with two major campaigns by outside groups kicking off on Tuesday.

The Service Employees International Union is launching a radio ad aimed at Latino voters that is critical of Republican Linda McMahon\’s education  plan. Meanwhile, the League of Conservation Voters is spending tens of thousands of dollars on a series of six mailers ripping McMahon\’s environmental policies.

They are part of a wave of Democratic-leaning groups are expected to flood the state with money and ads as the hotly contested Senate race enters its final month. McMahon, a multimillionaire who has sunk more than $65 million of her own money into her two Senate bids thus far, doesn\’t need outside help. But Murphy, a three-term Congressman who has spent his career almost exclusively in government, does not have the personal resource to compete with McMahon\’s vast fortune and is relying on outside help. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, recognizing that control of the chamber could rest on the outcome of the contest, has also begun airing attack ads on Murphy\’s behalf.

The McMahon campaign says the outside money is a sign of Murphy\’s desperation. \”Chris Murphy has gotten himself to the point in this race where his campaign needs to be rescued by his big Washington allies who are using their fat wallets to distort Linda McMahon\’s record,\’\’ said McMahon spokesman Todd Abrajano.

The SEIU ad criticizes McMahon for supporting cuts to children\’s programs and the elimination of the U.S. Department, an allegation Abrajano said is not true.

The 60-second ad is the first independent expenditure Spanish language advertising in support of Murphy. It will air through election day on Spanish-language radio stations in the New Haven and New York City markets, at a cost of $128,000.

\”Linda McMahon is trying to remake herself as a Connecticut moderate, but her past indicates she would go to Washington and rubberstamp the extremist, anti-Latino, Tea Party agenda,” Juan Hernandez, Assistant District leader for SEIU Local 32BJ, said in a press release announcing the ad buy. “Latino and working families need someone in the Senate who will fight for us and that\’s why I\’m voting Chris Murphy for Senate.

Also on Tuesday, the League of Conservation Voters began sending out mailers criticizing the Republican candidate for supporting the \”dismantling\” of the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. \”Linda McMahon\’s extreme ideas threaten Connecticut,\’\’ says one mailer. \”Linda McMahon, working for the tea party, not us.\”

The McMahon campaign dismissed the charges levied in the six mailers in a lengthy prebuttal issued before the League\’s official announcement. Abrajano said Murphy missed a dozen votes on important environmental issues. \”How can Chris Murphy say he is this environmental advocate when he can\’t even show up,\’\’ Abrajano said. \”What he says in Connecticut runs completely opposite to his record in Washington.\”

The McMahon campaign press release also asserted that the League of Conservation Voters generally backs Democrats, despite its statement that it is a non-partisan group.

Asked about the allegation of missed environmental votes, Murphy spokesman Eli Zupnick sent the following response via email: \”While Linda McMahon has pumped millions of her WWE dollars into her second attempt to buy a Senate seat, Chris has received over 30,000 contributions in the last three months alone from supporters who believe in his record and who support his work fighting for the middle class. All McMahon has to offer is more lies and smears, and as we saw in the debate on Sunday, she will do anything to to avoid revealing her true right-wing positions by actually talking about the issues Connecticut families care about.\”





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