(CNN) – Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly has modeled his reelection campaign around an effort to ensure voters forget he is a Democrat.
The National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee is more than happy to remind them.
The committee is out with its first television ad of the cycle Monday that repeatedly flashes images of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi next to Donnelly – himself a moderate Democrat who represents Indiana's conservative-leaning second congressional district.
"Joe Donnelly claims he's independent. But he has voted with Nancy Pelosi 88 percent of the time," says the ad's narrator. "For the Obama-Pelosi healthcare plan, the Wall Street bailout, even the $800 billion stimulus that failed…Now Joe Donnelly believes he wants us to be independent?"
NRCC spokesman Paul Lindsay says the ad will run for a week in the South Bend media market and described the size of the buy as "significant"
Donnelly's own campaign has become a case study in how vulnerable Democrats are running this cycle: by conveniently leaving out the fact he's aligned with the party in control in Washington.
His Web site also makes little mention of his party affiliation, and, in a recent ad, Donnelly says he is running against the "Washington crowd" while showing an image of Obama, Pelosi, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.
Donnelly faces Republican Jackie Walorski, a state legislator and former television reporter. Recent polls suggest Donnelly maintains a double digit lead in the race.
In response to the ad, Democrats are pointing out one of the votes Donnelly is being targeted for - approval of the Wall Street Bailout known as TARP - actually occurred under President Bush's watch and was backed by the GOP leadership.
A spokesman for Donnelly's campaign could not be reached.