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Democrats Target Vulnerable Senate Republicans over Party Loyalty

In tight Senate races, Democrats plan to point to the reliably Republican voting records of incumbents such as Pennsylvania's Toomey. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In some of the top competitive Senate races this year, Democrats on Monday planned a new line of attack against opponents they see as vulnerable: They are calling those Republican opponents reliable Republicans.  

Using a metric that has been used before by the GOP against Democrats, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it would hit vulnerable Republicans in eight states over their high "party unity" scores, as ranked by the conservative Americans for Prosperity and the nonpartisan CQ Vote Studies.  “These candidates know their Washington records are a liability – that’s why senators like Pat Toomey and Kelly Ayotte," referring to the senators from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, "spent the last year trying to rewrite their hyper-partisan history," said Lauren Passalacqua, a spokesperson for the group. "We took a look at how they’ve voted and no surprise, it’s consistently with the Washington special interests and always at the expense of the people who they were elected to represent."  

According to CQ, Toomey voted with his party 94 percent of the time, and Ayotte, according to Americans for Prosperity, did so 88 percent of the time. Along with those two, the DSCC said Sunday it planned to use similar lines of attack in Senate races in Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. In all of those states, the party unity scores topped 90 percent.  

The group's point is to highlight votes on issues such as Medicare, Social Security, student loans and the minimum wage, and the attack will not be a one-off. A DSCC official said, "We'll continue to use these scores in our messaging throughout the year."

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