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Senate Races Heat Up With TV Ads

The favored candidates strike back.

12:38 PM, Apr 17, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Republican Senate candidates in Texas, Indiana, and Connecticut are fighting back against primary opponents with new ads.

Incumbent senator Dick Lugar of Indiana, campaigning against Republican Richard Mourdock, has a new ad knocking his challenger as untrustworthy, and claiming the Indiana state treasurer received thousands in illegal tax deductions "for years." Watch the ad below:

The primary between Lugar and Mourdock has been particularly contentious, with the campaigns and their surrogates both spending plenty of money on ads and mailings. Mourdock has argued Lugar is too moderate and too friendly with the Democrats for Hoosier Republicans, while Lugar has been bolstering his conservative credentials and trying to cast Mourdock as an unreliable public servant. The Indiana primary is on May 8.

Meanwhile in Texas, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, the favorite to win the May 29 primary, is hitting rival Ted Cruz, the former solicitor general, for being a "trial lawyer" who defended a Chinese company in court against an American manufacturer. Watch the ad below:

The Cruz campaign has hit back almost immediately with its own TV ad, citing another of Cruz's cases in which he defended a war veterans memorial against a challenge by an atheist organization:

Dewhurst has led Cruz in the polls, though the latter has made significant gains in recent weeks. Yesterday, the Houston Chronicle reported that Cruz's Senate campaign has benefitted from super PACs more than any other candidate, with an array of independent expenditure groups spending nearly $1.7 million so far on behalf of Cruz.

And in Connecticut, the well-funded and well-known former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon offers a slick new web ad to draw what she calls "bright-line differences" between herself and her GOP primary opponent, former congressman Chris Shays. Watch the ad below:

McMahon leads Shays in recent polls, although Shays announced yesterday that he outraised McMahon in the first quarter of 2012 by over $280,000. Shays has argued that McMahon, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2010, would lose to the Democratic candidate in blue Connecticut. McMahon, for her part, is claiming she is the more conservative Republican. The state convention is on April 24, where delegates will vote to endorse a candidate ahead of the August 14 primary.

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