Mourdock, Donnelly spend $615,000 on new campaign ads

Democrat Joe Donnelly spent another $300,000 and Republican Richard Mourdock spent $315,000 on new ads Monday, with just a month left in their tight U.S. Senate race.

The Mourdock ad features black-and-white footage of synchronized swimmers performing in the background as the announcer argues that Donnelly is "synchronized" with President Barack Obama. The new Donnelly spot continues criticizing Mourdock for saying "the highlight of politics, frankly, is to inflict my opinion on someone else."

Both ads started airing Monday and will run statewide for a week on broadcast and cable television.

A Mourdock campaign aide tracking ad buys confirmed the new buy on condition of anonymity because the campaign does not openly discuss ad purchases. A Democratic party staffer tracking ad buys for the Donnelly campaign confirmed the Democratic spot on the same condition.

Donnelly hit back against the Mourdock ad Monday, saying the Republican's claim that the federal health care law amounted to a federal "takeover" was dubbed "lie of the year" by Politifact.com in 2010. Mourdock responded to Donnelly's ad by saying the Democrat took his statement about inflicting opinions out of context.

National Republicans, meanwhile, have found themselves playing a surprising bit of defense in deep-red Indiana as they try to gain the four seats the GOP needs to take control of the Senate. Republican Senate campaign chairman John Cornyn and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman campaigned with Mourdock at the end of last month, while conservative Oklahoma Sen. Rob Portman appeared with Mourdock earlier in September.

And on Monday, the Mourdock campaign announced that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would return to Indiana next week to help raise money for the Republican at a Merrillville fundraiser. Christie travelled to Carmel last month to raise money for GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence.

Indiana's Senate seat turned competitive after Mourdock unseated longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in May's Republican primary — and spending by Mourdock's and Donnelly's campaigns quickly topped $10 million as new campaign finance rules and a tight race spurred a flood of cash on state airwaves.

Outside groups have also been spending big in Indiana.

Another $2 million will be spent to support Mourdock in the final two weeks of October by Crossroads GPS, the super PAC started by GOP strategist Karl Rove to support Republican candidates. The amount was confirmed Monday by a Republican and a Democrat, both tracking ads for the campaigns, on condition of anonymity because neither was authorized to release the information.

Crossroads GPS has already spent $1 million on Indiana's Senate race this month.

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