Democrats are launching attack ads aimed at Republican Senate primary candidates—but the ads may actually be designed to get the easiest target nominated, insiders in both parties say. The apparent strategy follows Harry Reid's 2010 work in support of Republican Sharron Angle, who won her primary before losing to Reid. The AP cites Democratic ad campaigns in Missouri and Wisconsin that "selectively attack" GOP primary hopefuls. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill "is trying to pick the winner of the GOP primary," says a rep for one.
McCaskill's ads attack each of three GOP contenders, but the line of attack against Rep. Todd Akin—he's "too conservative" and has savaged President Obama—appears more likely to help him win over primary voters. According to members of both parties, Akin would present less of a challenge for McCaskill. Meanwhile, Wisconsin attack ads from a Democratic group only target the top two Republican hopefuls, leaving the third, former Rep. Mark Neumann, alone. Democratic insiders see him as easier to beat.