- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2014

DENVER — Having a famous family name is usually a plus in politics, but Republicans are going populist on what they call the “Dynasty” candidacy of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a video Friday that spoofs the opening credits of the hit 1980s television show “Dynasty” with “The Mark Udall Dynasty,” a frontal assault on one of the most famous clans in Western politics.

“Wealthy, comfortable and established. Out of touch but eager to stay in power,” the narrator says as a champagne cork pops in the background. “We now present the saga of the Mark Udall dynasty.”

The video shows that Republicans aren’t backing down after strenuous Democratic objections two days ago to a television ad from Mr. Udall’s Senate challenger, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner. The spot contrasts Mr. Gardner’s own working-class background with that of the Democrat Udall.

Mr. Udall is the scion of one of the region’s most prominent political families. His father Mo Udall served for 30 years in the House and ran for president in 1976, while his uncle Stewart Udall served as interior secretary under two presidents.

Mark Udall has two cousins in the Senate: Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico and Republican Mike Lee of Utah.

In the ad released Wednesday, Mr. Gardner points to his father and grandfather working at their tractor shop and says, “My opponent Mark Udall is a real nice guy.”

“He’s a nice guy who will never change the Senate. He is the Senate. Eighteen years in politics, and he’s got two cousins who are senators, too,” Mr. Gardner says. “Mark Udall’s dad even ran for president.”

That comment infuriated Democrats. Mr. Udall accused Mr. Gardner of “[going] after my late father and members of my family in a negative ad.” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky called it “disgusting” and demanded that Mr. Gardner pull it off the air.

“That’s just low, no matter what ‘generation’ Congressman Gardner claims to represent,” Mr. Udall said in a statement to the Denver Post.

Republicans waved off the Democratic response as “manufactured outrage.”

“This is rich,” said Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen. “For six months Sen. Udall has done nothing but wage the nastiest campaign in America and now he is upset that we are calling him a nice guy?”

The conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics mocked the Democratic response with, “How dare Cory Gardner say such factual things like Mark Udall is in the Senate with two of his cousins?! How dare Gardner state the fact that Mo Udall ran for president?! That is such a low and dirty blow!”

This year’s campaign features a number of Democratic Senate candidates from blue-blood political families. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is the daughter of former New Orleans Mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu; Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor is the son of a former governor and senator; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich’s father was a congressman, and Georgia Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s father, Sam Nunn, was a senator.

Some of those candidates are playing up their family ties. Ms. Landrieu appears in a folksy spot with her father released in May, while Mr. Begich’s “Alaska’s Son” ad shows footage of his father, Democratic Rep. Nick Begich, and then news coverage of his disappearance in a 1972 plane crash.

In Colorado, Mr. Udall has emphasized his Western roots, typically appearing in television ads outdoors wearing blue jeans, while the Gardner campaign has tried to paint Mr. Udall as a creature of Washington who’s out of touch with Coloradans.

“Let’s shake up the Senate,” Gardner says at the end of the ad.

The Colorado race, which could decide control of the Senate, is still too close to call. The left-leaning Public Policy Polling released as survey Thursday showing Mr. Gardner ahead by 47 to 45 percent, within the margin of error.

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