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DENVER (AP) — Republican Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner released a new ad Wednesday contrasting his father, a tractor salesman, with that of Democrat Mark Udall, a member of a prominent Western political dynasty, triggering criticism that he was making an inappropriately personal attack in a heated race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
Gardner's ad opens with him calling Udall "a nice guy." But, Gardner adds, "he's a nice guy who will never change the Senate. He is the Senate."
He notes that Udall's father, Arizona Rep. Mo Udall, ran for president and that two of Udall's cousins are sitting senators -- though the ad doesn't note one, Mike Lee of Utah, is a Republican. (Tom Udall is a Democrat who represents New Mexico.)
Gardner notes that his father, like his grandfather, sells tractors and signs off with his slogan calling for voters to "shake up the Senate."
The ad highlights a central theme in the campaign of Gardner, a rising star in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives who recently turned 40: That Udall, 64, is too much part of the Washington establishment. But it triggered outrage from Democrats for mentioning the senator's family.
In a statement, Udall said: "To see Congressman Gardner decide to go after my late father and members of my family in a negative ad. That's just low." The Democrats' organization that helps senate campaigns called on the Gardner campaign to take the spot off the air.
Colorado's senate race is one of the most expensive and competitive in the nation. Republicans need to net six senate seats to win control of the chamber.
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