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Unions triple-team Allen in Virginia

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Three labor unions have teamed up to try to thwart the election prospects of former Sen. George Allen, the Republican running for U.S. Senate in Virginia.

The political action committees of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the National Education Association launched “Better” on Wednesday, attacking Allen on Medicare and women’s health.

“That’s George Allen,” the narrators say. “Cuts Medicare. Reduces care for women. More power for insurance companies.”

Allen supports vice presidential nominee and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, which proposes a voucher-type system for Medicare that Democrats argue would result in deep cuts. When speaking of women’s health, the ad refers to Allen’s support of a failed amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would allow employers to refuse to cover contraceptives for “moral reasons.”

Allen faces former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, in the race to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, to whom Allen lost in 2006.

“Tim Kaine’s friends have reached a new level of desperation,” Allen spokeswoman Emily Davis said in an emailed response to the Washington Post. “Virginians know scare tactics when they see them, and they know George Allen has a record of fighting to strengthen and expand Medicare coverage and women’s access to quality health care.”

The ad, produced by AFSCME PEOPLESEIU COPE and the NEA Fund for Children and Education, is part of a $2.25 million campaign that the team will run through Election Day, according to a press release.

Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Democrats for U.S. Senate, also helped pay for it, according to the disclaimer at the end of the version posted by the super PAC, though this fact was left out of the unions’ press release.

This is not the first team ad of the election season. Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC backing U.S. House candidates, have occasionally joined forces with union PACs — in particular SEIU or AFSCME —to produce and air ads. Other Democratic groups, like the nonprofits Patriot Majority USA, VoteVets Action Fund and League of Conservation Voters, have also teamed with super PACs and unions.

Joint ads have been largely absent from Republican outside spenders.

Virginia is the second-most expensive U.S. Senate race for independent spending, having attracted $18.5 million to date, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Nearly $10 million of that has gone toward opposing Democrat Kaine.

Crossroads GPS, a conservative nonprofit, is the top spender in the race at $5.2 million, followed by Majority PAC, which has spent $4 million. The race has attracted ads from environmental groups, anti-abortion and abortion rights groups and business associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The Virginia Senate race is rated a tossup by The New York Times, but Kaine has pulled ahead since the beginning of October.

In other outside spending news:

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.

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