Hoping to give a boost to environmental issues in the upcoming elections, the Sierra Club yesterday launched an $8 million TV and radio ad campaign aimed at influencing 17 congressional races. The ads, most of which favor Democrats, will be accompanied by voter guides and fliers to be distributed at community events. Politicians targeted in the first round of ads include Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), who is criticized for his approach to salmon restoration and water quality, and Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), who is criticized for his record on protecting the Great Lakes. Ads will also praise Reps. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and James Maloney (D-Conn.), among others. Within the next few months, the Sierra Club also plans to run ads criticizing the environmental record of Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R).