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Rove-founded Super PAC attacks Angus King

Maine’s former governor favorite in Senate race

Cynthia Dill, Angus King, and Charlie Summers seek Maine’s open Senate seat.

Cynthia Dill, Angus King, and Charlie Summers seek Maine’s open Senate seat.

PORTLAND, Maine — Just when it appeared that outside spending was slowing, a super political action committee said Tuesday it is making another major ad buy in the final stretch of the race for US Senator Olympia Snowe’s empty seat in Maine.

Crossroads GPS, a super PAC cofounded by Republican Karl Rove, said Tuesday that it is spending $335,000 for a new ad targeting independent former governor Angus King. In the ad, the narrator says King ‘‘blew it’’ by using influence on a government task force to help windmill companies like his own former wind company in Roxbury.

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The ad purchase brings the total to nearly $1 million spent by Crossroads GPS attacking King, who is leading Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Democratic state Senator Cynthia Dill in polling.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has stopped spending in Maine. The same is true for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which has been attacking Summers.

King’s campaign attacked the Crossroads ad, saying King once was a member of the Ocean Energy Task Force that focused on deep-water wind projects, while King’s company developed projects on land.

‘‘We know Karl Rove knows zero about Maine or Angus’s record, and his only agenda is to advance partisan interests that are splitting the country. But to not understand the difference between land and sea is surprising,’’ said Crystal Canney, King’s spokeswoman. She said other assertions in the ad were false as well.

But the Summers campaign said the late spending by Rove’s Super PAC shows that the race is not out of reach for Republicans hoping to retain the retiring Snowe’s Senate seat.

‘‘The fact that Crossroads has locked in for the final week with a new ad should reinforce the fact that this race continues to be seen as a winnable race for Charlie,’’ said Lance Dutson, campaign chief for Summers.

Since late July, there’s been an advertising free-for-all with conservatives attacking King as a tax-and-spend liberal and political insider and Democrats later linking Summers with the Tea Party movement.

Americans Elect, meanwhile, has been airing ads on King’s behalf, with the aid of $1.75 million in contributions from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Americans Elect founder Peter Ackerman, and San Francisco investment firm founder John Burbank.

Jim Melcher, political science professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, said negative advertising was to be expected in a race for an open Senate seat, but he was surprised by the volume of attack ads.

Noting that Crossroads was still attacking King when a poll earlier this month showed King with a 26-point lead, he added, ‘‘They must still think there’s an opportunity there.’’

Summers, King, and Dill remained busy during a final full week of campaigning that ends with debates on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

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