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Koch-backed group uses Hillary Clinton to attack Ohio Senate candidate

Hillary Clinton is making her first appearance in a Republican attack ad this week—a move that will test Republicans’ arguments that she is just as toxic for down-ballot Democrats as GOP nominee Donald Trump is for his party’s candidates.

The new ad, part of a new $1 million buy from the Koch-backed group Freedom Partners Action Fund, targets Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland in Ohio, uses Clinton’s comments about putting coal miners “out of business” against him. Strickland is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. Rob Portman.

“Every day, I really wonder if I’m going to have a job the next day,” says Josh, a coal miner, in the TV ad. “Any day I can come in and they tell me to go home—it’s happened to a lot of people around here.”

Josh by Freedom Partners Action Fund on YouTube

The ad then plays video footage of Clinton’s comments about the coal industry, which Republicans across the country have used against her in recent months. “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners out of business,” she said in March.

“Seeing Ted Strickland stand with Hillary Clinton after what she said really hurts us here in the coal industry,” the ad’s narrator continues. “I don’t think you can trust Ted Strickland to stand up for coal. There’s no way he’s going to stand up for us.”

The ad comes as some Republicans are discussing the possibility of shifting resources toward Senate and other down-ballot races, a move that would in their view help the GOP hold the Senate and U.S. House even as Trump looks to be fading in the presidential race.

Republican leaders have argued that Clinton, with her low favorability ratings and continuing headlines over her private email server, is just as much a drag on the Democratic ticket as Trump is on the Republican one. This, however, is the first time a GOP outside group is putting serious money behind an ad tying the Democratic candidate to Clinton.

A CBS News Battleground Tracker poll released Sunday found Portman outperforming Trump by a fair bit in Ohio: he’s leading Strickland by 7 points in the state, even while Trump is down six points to Clinton.

Freedom Partners also released another ad Tuesday, this one a $1.2 million digital and TV ad buy in the battleground state of Nevada targeting Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto over a guardianship program for senior citizens in the state.

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