INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Super PACs and outside interest groups are opening fire in the battle for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat.
The anti-tax Club for Growth on Monday began airing an ad attacking U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar for supporting federal bailouts and increased spending. The ad cost roughly $250,000 for two weeks of airtime across the state.
"Since Senator Lugar moved to Washington 35 years ago, he's voted for tax increases and bailouts while our national debt has skyrocketed," Club President Chris Chocola said in a statement. The Lugar campaign has contested the Club's interpretation of key votes, including a plan to aid New York City that was voted on before Lugar joined the Senate.
A pro-Lugar Super PAC meanwhile began airing an ad statewide Monday on cable networks attacking Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock for his attendance at state board meetings.
"Tell Richard Mourdock: Stop running, and do your job," the narrator says at the end of the ad.
The Indiana Values Super PAC, which was established earlier this year by a trio of former Lugar staffers, is spending $35,000 on the spot. A separate pro-Lugar Super PAC, Hoosiers for Economic Growth and Jobs, has set a $1.75 million fundraising benchmark in the race.
Attack ads are guaranteed to saturate Indiana airwaves as Lugar and Mourdock battle ahead of the May 8 Republican primary. Two Super PACs are supporting Lugar while at least five national conservative groups are backing Mourdock. Repeal Obamacare PAC became the latest group to throw its support behind Mourdock Monday, the same day the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the federal healthcare reform case.
Until now most of the spending in the campaign has come from the campaigns directly, with Lugar drawing heavily on his $4 million bank account. Although the Club spent roughly $160,000 in ads statewide last summer urging Lugar to vote against raising the federal debt limit.
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