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“She votes with her leadership, she is in leadership,” Mr. Rossi said.

When the Senate reconvenes this month, Mrs. Murray might get a chance to offer an amendment on the chamber floor to kick-start Yucca.

Mr. Coats also is localizing a national issue, saying Mr. Ellsworth has cast votes that would allow the Obama administration to close Guantanamo Bay and bring terrorist suspects to the U.S.

Mr. Ellsworth’s campaign didn’t return a call seeking comment, but he has called Mr. Coats‘ television ad “flat-out wrong” because Congress would have to approve the transfer of detainees.

Republicans also are taking heat for national issues. In the Ohio race for a U.S. Senate seat, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher is attacking Republican Rob Portman, a former congressman and top-ranking George W. Bush administration official, for having approved “bad trade deals” when he was the chief trade negotiator for the U.S.

In North Carolina, interest groups have run ads saying Mr. Burr has “let big oil off the hook” with some of his votes on energy policy. The ads try to make a connection between those votes and the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In Arkansas, the dash for federal dollars that dominates much of Congress’ deliberations is getting a major airing.

Mrs. Lincoln, a Democrat who heads the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, is fighting on Capitol Hill to win $1.5 billion in farm aid, much of which would go to Arkansas farmers who lost crops because of flooding last year.

“These are farmers that have seen disaster; they’re hurting,” she said Friday in her first campaign debate with her Republican challenger, Rep. John Boozman, adding that agriculture accounts for more than 200,000 jobs and $9 billion in Arkansas’ economy.

Democratic leaders have asked Mrs. Lincoln not to try to attach the money to a bill intended to promote lending for small businesses. They say Mrs. Lincoln’s amendment would give Republicans a reason to oppose the legislation.

The White House has said it will try to find the money another way, although Democratic lawmakers question the administration’s right to redirect money from existing accounts.

Mr. Boozman accused Mrs. Lincoln of looking more for a political bailout than a farmer bailout.

“It’s unanimous. The president does not have the authority to bail her out in this way,” he said.