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Organized Labor Launches First Salvo in Fight For Senate

The AFL-CIO is making its first foray into 2016 Senate races Thursday with a six-figure digital ad buy in six key races, officials told NBC News.

The targeted Facebook ads will run in Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida and Wisconsin, each of which have competitive Senate races.

With messages on issues like trade, Wall Street, paid family leave, and infrastructure, the ads ask voters to sign a petition knocking the GOP candidate in the race, a tactic which can also help the group grow its data on voters.

Related: Trump Makes Pitch to Sanders Supporters With Trade Speech

For instance, an ad targeting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asks voters to “tell Sen. Rubio [to] stop supporting bad trade deals.” Ads targeting Joe Heck in Nevada tie him to Donald Trump, calling on the candidate to speak out against the presumptive GOP nominee’s “hateful rhetoric.”

“Working people will be a force in this election,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. “These ads are just one of the many tools we will use to speak to our members and the community about what’s at stake. Our job is to educate working families on the candidates who aspire to lead America. We will stand together with politicians who share our values and oppose those who do not.”

Democrats hope to take control of the Senate this year, and think Trump will weigh down Republican candidates, but it will likely be a tight battle for control.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO, which claims more than 12 million members, has been working to nip in the bud Donald Trump’s attempts to woo union members with his anti-free trade message. Most labor unions are fighting the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trump has put his opposition to the trade deal at the center of his presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton came late to the anti-TPP cause, and some doubt her commitment, but the AFL-CIO calls Trump a “complete fraud on trade."