Senate Republicans have found a unifying figure to rally around in their fight to maintain and possibly increase their power in the chamber in 2018. It's not President Donald Trump. It's Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching an ad campaign comparing Democrats in vulnerable states to "extreme Massachusetts liberal Elizabeth Warren" as part of their midterm strategy.
In digital ads and email blasts, the GOP campaign committee compares 10 incumbent Democrats in states that were either highly competitive or broke in Trump's favor in 2016 to Warren, including Ohio's Sherrod Brown, Montana's Jon Tester, and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, whose voting records the NRSC says match Warren's 97 percent, 90 percent, and 88 percent of the time, respectively.
In addition to trying to entice conservatives to donate money to their cause, the campaign reinforces a broader GOP effort to paint the outspoken liberal leader as the face of the Democratic Party.
"These Red State Democrats' voting records align more with Elizabeth Warren than the beliefs of the hardworking people of their states," NRSC Communications Director Katie Martin said in a statement. "Having Elizabeth Warren as the face of the increasingly more extreme Democratic Party gives Republicans just another example to give to voters as to why these senators deserve a pink slip in 2018."
Despite the Republican effort, it isn't Warren who's emerged recently as a senator being touted as a national voice for the Democratic party. The Democratic National Committee chose Vermont's independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, to help the group's newly elected chairman, Tom Perez, headline the party's "unity tour" this past week. Meanwhile, Warren spent the week promoting her new book.
Warren's ability to generate fundraising isn't limited to her being used by her opposition. She started 2017 with $4.8 million in her campaign account, topping the list of any other Democratic incumbent running in 2018, a bigger war chest than even that of former presidential candidate Sanders.
Warren's PAC, called Level Playing Field, also has been successful, raising over $1 million dollars in 2016. Warren has used that money to help out fellow Democrats facing challenging re-elections -- a fact the NRSC is eager to point out.
An NRSC email blast last week specifically targeted donations made to Brown. "Now that Sen. Sherrod Brown has shown he has no problem taking money from fellow extremist Elizabeth Warren, will he bring her to Ohio to campaign with him?" the email asked.
So far this year, Warren's PAC has donated $10,000 each to the campaigns of Brown, Tester and Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.