DENVER (AP) — Democratic Senator Mark Udall aired the first ad of his closely-watched re-election campaign on Tuesday, highlighting his challenger's opposition to abortion rights.
The 30-second spot against Republican Rep. Cory Gardner confirms that Udall will revisit the Democratic playbook of attacking Republicans on women's rights that enabled Sen. Michael Bennet to fend off a strong GOP challenge in 2010 and has helped shift this swing state to Democratic control. A small number of independent and moderate Republican women voters who support abortion rights usually decide statewide elections in Colorado.
Over a montage of concerned-looking women, a female announcer says: "Congressman Gardner's history promoting harsh anti-abortion laws is disturbing." It notes that Gardner sponsored a bill to outlaw abortions in cases of rape and incest and supported an effort to grant an embryo the same legal rights as a person, which could have outlawed some forms of birth control and all abortions.
Gardner has since changed his position on the so-called "personhood" measure, and says now he opposes it.
Udall's campaign said it bought $500,000 worth of airtime for the ad, which will run over the next two weeks.
Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen said: "After nearly two decades in Washington, Senator Udall has decided to launch his re-election campaign with a negative, misleading attack ad because he has no record of accomplishments."
The Senate race in Colorado is expected to be one of the costliest in the nation. Outside groups have already aired millions of dollars in ads attacking the two candidates. Republicans need to net six Senate seats in November to win back the chamber.