The Washington Times - September 28, 2012, 05:35PM

A leading public employees’ union spent $1 million on radio, television and online ads opposing GOP nominee Mitt Romney Thursday, records show. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has spent close to $1 million on several Senate races, but yesterday’s purchase marks the union’s biggest foray into presidential advertising.

AFSCME, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has made 80 ad buys in the nation’s top 50 broadcasting markets in the last month, including one this week in the swing state of Nevada, according to The Washington Times’ exclusive ad tracker (http://www.washingtontimes.com/campaign-2012/adwatch/).

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While yesterday’s Romney ads, titled simply “Republicans,” is the largest expenditure yet from the liberal union, the buy pales in comparison to the outside money conservatives have working on their side. Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors but is tied to the billionaire Koch brothers, has spent $30 million opposing President Obama, Federal Election Commission records show.

But the union’s money could go further in smaller-scale races. AFSCME has spent $780,000 so far this month on ads opposing Denny Rehberg, a Republican Senate candidate in Montana, and yesterday made an $800,000 buy opposing Rep. Dan Lungren, California Republican. It also this month spent nearly $1 million opposing Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin Senate with an ad that claims, “Washington changed him.”