In an interview released by CNN on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed a number of topics, like his plans for securing the votes to continue to lead the Senate caucus after this year and his work on policy in a narrowly divided Senate.
But one thing he let slip is his frustration with Republican Senate candidates' inability to raise campaign funds themselves, forcing his own affiliated PACs to come in to try and save them.
"Getting back to the majority and setting the agenda would require a one-seat net pickup, but that has proven to be an enormous challenge given the difficult Senate map his party faces – despite the favorable midterm environment for the GOP," reported CNN congressional reporter Manu Raju. "By the end of the cycle, McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund will have spent $209 million in ads across the country, with its affiliated nonprofit group, One Nation, spending another $71 million, according to data from AdImpact."
"'I’ve got a lot of bases to cover,' he said, pointing to the key battleground states across the map," the report continued. "'Many of these general election campaigns have been woefully underfunded, not because of the NRSC, but because of the candidates’ campaigns themselves,' McConnell said. 'And we certainly — SLF has certainly — carried the lion’s share of load.'"
Most of the competitive Senate Democratic candidates, from Georgia to Arizona to Nevada to Pennsylvania to Ohio, have outraised their Republican counterparts, and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) has also raised robustly this year.
In recent weeks, Republican outside groups like McConnell's have come in with aggressive spending of their own, leveling the playing field to some extent, but they still face challenges. Independent expenditure groups typically pay more for ads, and get less favorable time slots, than campaigns — an issue plaguing a newly-formed pro-Trump Super PAC that recently jumped into Senate races.
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