More than $130 million raised so far in seven key Senate races
In total, some $85 million has been spent on the races, including more than $20 million in Pennsylvania alone, where Democrats go to the polls Tuesday to decide who will run against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Democrats are targeting Pennsylvania, along with New Hampshire, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Wisconsin as they push for a majority in the Senate. Republicans believe Nevada is a potential gain with the retirement of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
Also, both parties’ Senate fundraising committees have earmarked tens of millions for the same key November match-ups. A total of $65 million has already been set aside by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee for television advertisements to be aired in all the above states, other than Illinois. The ad buys are earmarked for the November election.
But the Democrats' committee has already intervened in one primary race, spending more than $1.4 million in support of Kate McGinty, and against Joe Sestak, in Pennsylvania.
The two front runners are neck and neck in the latest polls, with 39 percent apiece. Sestak had a double digit lead until last month, but McGinty has benefited from financial support and endorsements from the party leadership, including President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Close to $1.5 million was spent by the DSCC in support of McGinty, by far the largest amount it has spent this election cycle.
Other outside groups supporting McGinty include Women Vote!, an arm of Emily’s List, which has spent $1.75 million, as well as the Environmental Defense Action Fund and the Services Employees International Union.
Sestak, who lost by two points to Toomey in 2010, is not a popular figure within the Democratic establishment. He challenged and defeated incumbent former Republican Arlen Specter in the 2010 primary.
More money has been raised and spent in the Pennsylvania than any other race in the country (except, of course, for the presidential election). In total, just under $23 million has been spent so far in Pennsylvania by the campaign committees and outside groups. Toomey’s own campaign has spent $11 million even while he does not know which candidate he will face. The candidates have raised close to $28 million.
Overall, large amounts of money are being raised and spent in all those key states that are battlegrounds in November's general elections.
This includes Ohio, where Democrats are backing former Gov. Ted Strickland to defeat the incumbent, Sen. Rob Portman. Strickland won the Democratic primary March 15.
Portman has raised a huge amount of money, $18.2 million by the end of March. He has more than $13 million in his war chest.
But Portman is also benefiting from the largest amount of outside money in any of the senatorial races so far,. Some $5.2 million, of the $6.7 million total, has been spent in his support by Americans for Prosperity and the Freedom Partners Action Fund, the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other smaller organizations.
The NRSC, the Republican’s senatorial committee, is planning to spend $6.7 million on an advertising ahead of the general election. A lot more money is expected to flow into this race.
But the Republicans are reserving, at this point, the largest amount of money for Sen. Kelly Ayotte, facing a tough re-election fight against Gov. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.
The NRSC is reserving $6.8 million to defend Sen. Ayotte, $5.9 million to help Portman, and $2 million for Sen. Ron Johnson, who is up against former senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. The committee is putting some $6.3 million into the Nevada race, where Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck and Democratic former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto are the front runners.
“We know that Democrats have their sights set on our majority, and we are taking nothing for granted,” said NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek last week.
The DSCC is committing $10 million each in Florida and Ohio, $8 million in New Hampshire, $5 million in Colorado where Sen. Michael Bennett faces a Republican challenge, and $4 million in Nevada.