Across 48 television ads in seven competitive Senate races, the Republican incumbents haven’t mentioned the president once.
By Nick Corasaniti
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Over the past week, incumbent Republican senators facing tough re-election fights in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Montana, North Carolina and South Carolina have run a combined total of 48 television ads, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm.
None of them mention President Trump.
It could be because of the president’s yawning deficit in the national polls, or because they’re focusing on other issues that are polling better locally. But none of the Republican incumbents in these seven states have directly tied themselves to the president as they have in the past.
So, what are they pitching to voters? We’re glad you asked. It’s very different from state to state, though there is a lot of talk about pre-existing conditions.
Here’s a breakdown.
Senator Martha McSally of Arizona has put seven ads on the air over the past week, but by far her most-aired ad is one in which she says she has “always supported protecting anyone with a pre-existing condition, and I always will.” She has spent more than $1.1 million on the ad over the past week. It’s an attempt to rebut attacks from her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, that the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act would lead to the loss of health insurance coverage for millions of people with pre-existing medical conditions. But the only national law that protects people with pre-existing conditions is the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and Ms. McSally voted to repeal it. (The Cook Political Report rates this race as “Lean Democrat.”)
Senator Steve Daines of Montana is running an ad that is very similar to Ms. McSally’s. In the same direct-to-camera style, he claims that his opponent, Gov. Steve Bullock, is falsely characterizing his vote to repeal the A.C.A. as an attack on pre-existing conditions. Mr. Daines, whose campaign has spent $307,000 on the ad over the past week, says he has “always fought to protect Montanans with pre-existing conditions, and I always will.” But like Ms. McSally, he offers no explanation of how or where that support has come from, and instead offers a broad-brush attack on the A.C.A. (Cook rating: Tossup.)
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