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Chris Van Hollen back on the air with ad targeting women

Rep. Chris Van Hollen's campaign for Maryland's open Senate seat went back up on television Wednesday with a new ad targeted at women, a key demographic both campaigns are hoping to court.

The ad, running on broadcast and cable television in Baltimore, notes Van Hollen's high score from groups like Planned Parenthood, and his work on women's health care as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

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The new ad comes as an influential women's group is airing a separate spot supporting his opponent, Rep. Donna Edwards. Emily's List, the Washington-based group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, launched a $1 million advertising campaign for Edwards at the end of November.

Throughout her campaign Edwards, of Prince George's County, has discussed the importance of diversity in the Senate. Both candidates are running to succeed Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the first woman elected to the Senate without the benefit of a father or husband preceding her.

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And yet Van Hollen has refused to cede the ground to Edwards. A Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll in November found Van Hollen beating Edwards by seven percentage points among women, and the Montgomery County lawmaker has received more endorsements from elected females in Maryland.

One of them, Sen. Delores G. Kelley of Baltimore County, is featured in Van Hollen's latest ad.

"A lot of people can talk, but they can't deliver," Kelley says, referencing a narrative pushed by the Van Hollen campaign that he has been more effective in Congress than Edwards. "Chris can."

Mikulski has declined to endorse in the April 26 primary.

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The Van Hollen campaign declined to say how much money it has committed to its latest ad. Federal Communication Commission filings show the campaign signed a contract on Tuesday with WJZ for $27,900 and with WBAL for $16,634. Those contracts will continue through Jan. 4.

Van Hollen ran a series of television advertisements in the Baltimore media market from early October to mid-November, and then came off the air for the holidays. By contrast, Emily's List went up just before Christmas, launching its ad campaign on Dec. 16. Those ads are expected to continue into mid-January.

The Edwards campaign itself has not run any television advertisements. The campaign's low fundraising -- Edwards had only $369,000 in the bank at the end of September -- means it will have to be more conservative with its ad budget.

Several Republicans are also seeking the seat, including House of Delegates Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga of Baltimore County, Richard Douglas, a former Pentagon official who ran for the GOP Senate nomination in 2012, and Chrys Kefalas, who is on leave from the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington to pursue his campaign.

None of the Republicans have run television advertising.

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