This Halloween, take a tour with NASA's Exoplanet Exploration site of some of the most terrifying destinations in our galaxy. The nightmare world of HD 189733 b is the killer you never see coming. To the human eye, this far-off planet looks bright blue. But any space traveler confusing it with the friendly skies of Earth would be badly mistaken. via NASA http://ift.tt/2f5xN8K

The Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft is seen as it lands with Expedition 49 crew members NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 (Kazakh time). via NASA http://ift.tt/2eVo0nF

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins is pictured inside of the Soyuz MS-01 spacecraft while conducting routine spacesuit checks. The Expedition 49 trio of Rubins, JAXA astronaut Takuya Onishi and cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin are scheduled to undock their Soyuz on Saturday, Oct. 29, and land at 11:59 p.m. EDT. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fnNzOH

This photograph shows the first pass of Echo 1, America’s first communications satellite, over the Goldstone Tracking Station managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, in the early morning of Aug. 12, 1960. The movement of the antenna, star trails, and Echo 1 (the long streak in the middle) are visible in this image. via NASA http://ift.tt/2fkiP12

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 captured this image of the Potomac River and canal on September 27, 2016. The image shows the stretch between Hancock and Cumberland, Maryland—about 97 kilometers (60 miles) if you were to hike or bike along the towpath between these two towns. West Virginia is south of the river. via NASA http://ift.tt/2eROVNg

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The Senate Leadership Fund, a powerful super PAC with ties to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is plowing a mammoth $25 million into seven congressional races. | AP Photo

Panicking GOP makes major last-minute Senate investment

‘We’re going to go out guns blazing,' Mitch McConnell ally says.

By

Updated

Republicans, on the verge of losing the Senate, are plowing a mammoth $25 million into seven races in a last-ditch attempt to stop Donald Trump from dragging the entire GOP down with him.

The investment from Senate Leadership Fund, a powerful super PAC with ties to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, comes as Democrats shift resources from Hillary Clinton’s now almost certain victory to down-ballot contests in hopes of delivering her a congressional majority.

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In an interview on Tuesday afternoon, Steven Law, Senate Leadership Fund’s president and a close McConnell ally, acknowledged Republicans have a tough road to keep their majority – and said the spending push was designed to close a growing funding deficit. In numerous Senate battles, Democrats are outspending Republicans by millions of dollars.

“Over the last two weeks, we’ve seen every liberal Democratic group descend on these races,” Law said. “Democrats feel like the presidential race is in the bag for them and are looking for fresh game in the Senate.”

With just two weeks to go until Election Day, the Democratic cash advantage, Law said, was starting to have an effect, hurting Republican prospects across the board. He said the $25 million expenditure would narrow the GOP deficit, but wouldn’t erase it. He also said he expected to make additional investments in the days to come, but declined to provide further details.

In an indication of the challenge confronting Republicans, nearly all of Senate Leadership Fund’s spending, which stretches from Oct. 19 until Nov. 8, will come in defense of GOP-held seats.

The group’s biggest expenditure will be in Nevada, where it will spend around $7.5 million. That contest is razor thin, and Republicans have grown concerned that their candidate, Joe Heck, has lost ground after withdrawing his support for Donald Trump.

It will invest over $5 million in Pennsylvania, where GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is facing a tough reelection fight, and $4 million in Indiana, where Republicans are trying to halt a comeback bid by former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh.

Other purchases will come in North Carolina, where it will book over $3 million in TV airtime, and in New Hampshire and Missouri, where it will reserve over $2 million apiece.

Buying commercial time at this late a stage in an election year does not come cheap. With so many candidates and political groups looking to invest, ad rates are expensive. “This isn’t a cheap date,” Law said.

Republicans have been heavily reliant on Senate Leadership Fund and two partnered groups, One Nation and Granite State Solutions. The trio of organizations have done the bulk of pro-GOP spending in Senate races over the course of the cycle, spending around $165 million. The Koch network and the Chamber of Commerce, two powerful GOP allies, are spending relatively little on TV ads during the final stretch and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which invested heavily early on in the campaign, now finds itself short of cash.

Law declined to specify which donors provided the $25 million, but said it came from a broad array of contributors. In recent days, McConnell, alarmed by the prospect of losing control of the Senate, has been looking to gin up support from his considerable donor network.

Republican strategist Karl Rove, who is involved with Senate Leadership Fund, also assisted in the effort to raise the $25 million. The former George W. Bush advisor has been spending time in the super PAC’s offices as of late.

The group’s financial backers, Law said, understood that “we’re going to take casualties but that we’re going to go out guns blazing.”

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Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo craft (left) is seen from the Cupola module windows aboard the International Space Station on Oct. 23, 2016. The main robotic work station for controlling the Canadarm2 robotic arm is located inside the Cupola and was used to capture Cygnus upon its arrival. via NASA http://ift.tt/2e7cvG0

An engineer guides the upper dome of a Boeing CST-100 Starliner as it is connected to the lower dome to complete the first hull of the Starliner's Structural Test Article. The Starliner is one of two spacecraft in development in partnership with NASA's Commercial Crew Program that will enable astronauts to fly to the International Space Station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2eohgjO

The Soyuz MS-02 rocket is launched with Expedition 49 Soyuz commander Sergey Ryzhikov of Roscosmos, flight engineer Shane Kimbrough of NASA, and flight engineer Andrey Borisenko of Roscosmos, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The crew will spend the next four months living and working aboard the International Space Station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2dOhf2S

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, October 17, 2016 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus is delivering over 5,100 pounds of science and research, supplies and hardware to the space station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2enSgne

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, is seen on launch Pad-0A as the moon sets, predawn, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s cargo resupply mission will deliver over 5,100 pounds of science and research, supplies and hardware to the space station. via NASA http://ift.tt/2dJ9hIu