Mitch McConnell-aligned super PAC pours record advertising cash into U.S. Senate races
Photos: Meg Potter/Cronkite News, Gage Skidmore/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

WASHINGTON — The super PAC aligned with U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has spent a record amount advertising for GOP Senate candidates this cycle, according to AdImpact.

The Senate Leadership Fund has “become the highest-spending advertiser” AdImpact, started in 2014, has ever reported on, according to data it released Thursday. The numbers show the GOP group has spent about $178 million on advertising in five key U.S. Senate races—Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania—that will likely determine control of the chamber following next week’s midterm elections.

“Senate Leadership Fund tops issue group spending in Senate races, with a total of $205M pooled across nine Senate races,” AdImpact wrote.

“The next highest spending issue group in Senate races is the Democratic counterpart to SLF, Senate Majority PAC with $139M across seven different Senate races,” the organization wrote, noting that “Senate Majority PAC was consistently outspending Senate Leadership Fund until September, but SLF has since placed over $202M between September and November.”

The GOP super PAC has spent $42 million in Georgia, where GOP candidate Herschel Walker is seeking to flip one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats back to red by defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. A super PAC is a political action committee that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, to campaign independently for candidates.

In Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, and celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz, a Republican, are vying for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat, the Senate Leadership Fund has spent $41 million on advertising this year.

The group has doled out $36 million on ads in North Carolina in an attempt to bolster Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd against state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, for that state’s open U.S. Senate seat.

Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance’s campaign was the target of $31 million in advertising support from the Senate Leadership Fund in his bid to win out over Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan for an open seat in the Buckeye State.

And in Nevada, where U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is attempting to hold the seat for Democrats against former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican, the McConnell-aligned super PAC has spent $28 million on advertisements.

The Senate Majority PAC, aligned with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, has become the third-highest spending advertiser AdImpact has ever tracked, spending $152 million in its top five races.

The biggest ad buy by Democrats went to Pennsylvania’s Senate race with $50 million, followed by a $32 million investment in Nevada.

Another $31 million went to reelection ads for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, who is attempting to fend off a challenge from Republican Blake Masters.

In Wisconsin, where Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes hopes to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, the super PAC has spent $26 million.

Senate Majority PAC, the Schumer-aligned PAC, has spent considerably less on advertising in the North Carolina Senate race than the McConnell-aligned super PAC, with $13 million on advertisements.

AdImpact wrote in its post that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent $41 million on advertising overall while the National Republican Senatorial Committee has spent $25 million.

“Notably, Senate Majority PAC didn’t spend at all in Georgia Senate, but DSCC put almost $9M supporting Warnock,” AdImpact wrote. “This is on track with our projections to be some of the highest midterm Senate spending in an election cycle, and we will see how spending impacts outcomes in less than one week.”


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