UPDATED: National Republicans abandoning Schaffer in Colorado

Confirming rumors that have been floating for days, The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reports Friday morning the National Republican Senatorial Committee is pulling its resources from Colorado and will no longer support Bob Schaffer’s Senate bid with its massive advertising campaign against Democrat Mark Udall.

Ambinder reports Republican sources in the state and Washington have told him the NRSC “plans to pull out of the state by next week, an acknowledgment that its independent expenditure resources would be better spent on defense elsewhere.”

The pull-out leaves Schaffer mostly to fend for himself against increasingly long odds after two 527 groups — Freedom’s Watch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — announced plans to abandon the former Republican congressman earlier this week.

Freedom Watch, fronted by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and funded by Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, planned to pour as much as $250 million into electioneering ads this year.

The Denver Post reported on Tuesday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Freedom’s Watch have ditched Schaffer after spending almost $2 million during the last two weeks of September. The two groups are reallocating their spending to help protect Republican incumbents in Oregon and North Carolina, the Post reported. A spokesman for the U.S. Chamber told Politicker CO the organization wasn’t pulling out and intends to advertise again in the state before the election.

Most recent polls show Udall trouncing Schaffer by 14 points in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Wayne Allard. Udall has consistently led Schaffer since early this year, according to tracking by Pollster.com.

The NRSC pulled its support on Wednesday from the Louisiana Senate race, citing increased threats to incumbent Republican senators only recently considered safe.

Spending more than $2 million in recent weeks, the NRSC has pounded the airwaves with a series of brutal attack ads portraying a grimacing, scowling Udall. At a recent debate, Udall said a woman came up to him at a campaign event and said she was surprised he wasn’t as ugly as he was on TV, referring to the NRSC depictions.

“When will Bob Schaffer’s front groups realize they are wasting millions of dollars in dishonest and mean-spirited attack ads against Mark Udall?,” Udall spokesperson Tara Trujillo said in an e-mail to the Colorado Independent Friday morning. “Bob underestimates Coloradans who are independent-minded voters and know that Mark Udall is on their side.”

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Ernest Luning

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