The pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA released a new television ad targeting Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, tying the Pennsylvania Republican to Donald Trump's controversial comments about abortion.
The ad, “Punishment,” reprises Trump's comments made earlier this year in which he said that there “has to be some form of punishment” for women for seeking abortions if they are banned. Trump later attempted to walk back the comments, which were made in a town hall interview during the Republican primary.
Now, Trump's words are feature prominently in this ad attacking Toomey, whose own words follow Trump's.
“I would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion, and I would suggest we have penalties for doctors who perform them,” Toomey said in 2009 clip that is part of the ad.
In a statement, Toomey's campaign said that the ad makes an inaccurate connection between Toomey's statements about penalties for doctors and Trump's statements about "punishment" for women.
“This is a recycled attack that has already been fact-checked as false, and is further proof that hyper-partisan, ethically challenged, Katie McGinty will be a rubber stamp for everything Hillary Clinton wants to do in Washington," said Ted Kwong, communications director for the Toomey campaign, citing a factcheck report from Politifact that said the connection between Trump and Toomey was misleading.
Toomey faces Democrat Katie McGinty in what has become one of the most competitive races on the map this year. The two are in a statistical tie in the three most recent polls in the state.
On Tuesday, Priorities announced that it would begin to spend resources on Senate races including McGinty's and the race in New Hampshire. That the super PAC is willing to divert resources to Senate races shows a growing confidence in Democrats' view of Clinton's prospects at the presidential level and also in the party's chances at retaking control of the Senate.
“Pat Toomey and Donald Trump are one in the same when it comes to being wrong for the women of Pennsylvania who deserve a senator and a president who won’t punish them or their doctors for making decisions about their own health care,” said Anne Caprara, executive director at Priorities USA. “We can’t allow Pat Toomey and Donald Trump to hurt Pennsylvania’s women by doling out punishments for abortion.”
Democrats have also stepped up their efforts to tie Senate and House candidates to Trump as his candidacy has struggled following allegations that he engaged in unwanted sexual contact with several women.
“Pat Toomey and Donald Trump. They're just wrong for the women of Pennsylvania,” the ad's narrator says as two menacing side-by-side images of Toomey and Trump flash across the screen.
Toomey has not said whether he will vote for Trump.
Priorities also said Thursday that September was its best fundraising month ever. The PAC brought in more than $24 million according to a spokesman. And it has $22 million cash-on-hand.
New ads in the Senate race in New Hampshire also begin airing as part of a multimillion-dollar ad buy in Manchester. And new ads will also run in Georgia for the first time in this cycle.