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Campaign ad watch: The air war goes on, even during a hurricane

NBC News' weekly round up of top campaign ads.

WASHINGTON — Natural disasters generally prompt a pause in campaigning, or at least a pause in the name-calling. But like many other political norms that have gone out the window, that wasn't the case in Florida as Hurricane Matthew blasted the Panhandle on Wednesday.

Floridians who didn't lose power, or who were able to watch television as the storm made landfall, caught negative ads in the competitive races for governor and Senate.

Here the ads that caught the eyes of the NBC News political unit this week. You can check out the YouTube playlist here, and read on for more on each spot.

Florida Republican Party in Florida governor

The state GOP kept running a handful of attack ads against Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, on the day Matthew made landfall. Two of those spots specifically hit Gillum for his response to power outages in Tallahassee after 2016's Hurricane Hermine. And another tied Gillum to an FBI investigation into Tallahassee city government. He's not directly been implicated in that investigation and has denied any wrongdoing.

Gillum's campaign also ran a hurricane-themed ad on Wednesday where a local sheriff criticizes Republicans for "using hurricanes to score political points."

Senate Majority PAC in Florida Senate

The nastiness didn't stop in the pivotal senate race either, where both Democrats and Republicans ran negative ads (along with others) as the hurricane approached landfall.

SMP, the top Democratic super PAC playing in Senate races, attacked Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott for education cuts. And New Republican PAC, which backs Scott, needled Nelson for being an "empty suit" in another ad on Wednesday.

National Republican Congressional Committee in Arizona 02

In what could be one of the last NRCC ads in this race (the group is pulling ad spending to redirect dollars toward protecting other seats), the GOP group dropped a tough spot on immigration that could be repackaged in other races with a quick edit.

MJ Hegar in Texas 31

Hegar, who is mounting a longshot bid against Republican Rep. John Carter, uses her experience as a mother to pivot toward a discussion about health care. It's a strategy that other female Democratic candidates have employed this cycle (see: Kentucky's Amy McGrath), and it's one that Hegar is using along with her compelling personal story to try to shoot for the moon in the conservative district.

Mike Coffman in Colorado 06

Coffman, the Republican incumbent, is fighting for his life in a district that's long been a Democratic target thanks to its liberal lean in presidential years.

In looking to distance himself from his party's tougher rhetoric on immigration, Coffman is out with a new spot where constituents tell a compassionate story of him stepping in to protect a little girl from deportation. The girl had been adopted by Americans in Peru but faced possible deportation after visa issues.

Colin Allred in Texas 32

Allred's new spot uses video from Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions's early 2017 town hall where he tangled with a frustrated crowd of constituents, telling them they "don't know how to listen" in response to criticism of the GOP's health care bill.

It was that type of frustration with Sessions that convinced Democrats they had a chance to take down a former NRCC chairman whose held a tight grip on his seat in Congress for more than 20 years. So as polls show the race within striking distance, Allred is looking to channel that opposition into a victory.

House Majority PAC in California 48

This goofy ad features Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in an astronaut suit in order to make the claim that the California congressman is "way out there."

It also includes Rohrabacher floating around in space with a Russian rocket behind him, a reference to his warm posture toward Russia, and also makes reference to the congressman's accidental interview with satirist Sacha Baron Cohen, where he expressed openness to training "young people" to use weapons to protect themselves from school shooters.