- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Two new attack ads are hitting TV screens in Pennsylvania as part of the hotly contested race for U.S. Senate, as millions of dollars pour in and a growing number of outside groups try to influence the outcome of the election.

A Senate Majority PAC ad, which started Friday, attacks Republican Sen. Pat Toomey as a Wall Street ally who supports tax structure changes that would benefit the wealthy and repealing the Dodd-Frank Act of 2011, a new post-recession regulatory scheme for banks.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce ad, that starts Saturday, attacks Democrat Katie McGinty as a liberal and polarizing politician who, as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff last year, promoted the “largest tax hike in Pennsylvania history” and would support more government intervention into health care.

The chamber’s ad is the group’s first attacking McGinty. It has aired two TV ads supporting Toomey over the past 10 months and does not disclose its donors. The new ad is running in the Harrisburg media market and will be joined by another new ad running in the Philadelphia media market through mid-June, a chamber spokeswoman said. The tab is under $1 million, she said.

Meanwhile, the ad by the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC, is its first attacking Toomey. It works to elect Democrats to the Senate. The ad is costing $1.2 million and is running through mid-June in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton, a Senate Majority PAC spokesman said.

Toomey is running for a second term.

The winner of the Pennsylvania contest could help determine control of the Senate in the November election. Earlier this week, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a national party committee, said it will commit $8.2 million to help McGinty’s campaign, on top of more than $2 million it spent to help her win the hard-fought April 26 primary election.

Also in recent days, the billionaire industrialist brothers, Charles and David Koch, pledged $30 million to help Toomey and other Republican senators running for re-election.

Republicans hold a 54-46 advantage in the U.S. Senate, but have to defend more than double the number of seats than Democrats in this year’s election.

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