The Most Expensive Senate Race of the Cycle — So Far
Posted at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2013
“Since some of these candidates aren’t that well known, it is important that voters know where they stand on these issues, so they can’t hide from their records,” Matsdorf said.
In Kentucky, where McConnell is the top target of national Democrats, GOP-aligned groups have spent $2.3 million to $1.2 million from Democrats. That doesn’t include the $700,000 spent by Senate Conservatives Fund, which is backing McConnell’s primary opponent, businessman Matt Bevin.
Senate Majority PAC launched on Dec. 13 a quarter-million-dollar buy in support of Landrieu in the Bayou State. Before that, Republicans had outpaced Democrats in the state by about $1.75 million to $320,000.
As Landrieu distanced herself from the president on Obamacare in her latest spot, the super PAC ad directly targeted Cassidy, Landrieu’s top opponent, on Medicare and the government shutdown. The group’s recent ad in North Carolina defended Hagan on health care and took aim at Tillis.
In Arkansas, Pryor has seen about $1.8 million spent against him, though a sizable chunk of that came from the Michael Blooomberg-founded group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Democrat-aligned groups have spent about $450,000.
A fifth state likely to see TV ads for the next year is Alaska. A super PAC set up to defend Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has already placed a $100,000 ad buy to defend the incumbent from outside group attacks.
Its ad mocked an Americans for Prosperity spot that had slammed Begich on the issue of Obamacare, noting that the woman featured in it was an actress from the East Coast.
“Honestly we weren’t planning to come out this early,” Jim Lottsfeldt, treasurer of the pro-Begich super PAC, told Alaska Public Radio Network. “But it’s clear in 2014 politics across the nation, the Koch brothers are on the attack and we thought it was smart to start our defense sooner rather than later.”
Outside groups aren’t the only ones on the air, as Pryor, Landrieu and McConnell have all aired their own TV ads. McConnell’s first spot came in mid-March, and he’s topped $1 million in media spending already.
Pryor, widely considered the most vulnerable Democrat up this cycle, has spent well more than $800,000 on ads, including his most recent spot that highlighted the importance of the Bible in his life. That’s at least $500,000 more than Cotton, who recently featured his mother in an ad.
That’s one reason Sen. Marco Rubio’s, R-Fla., leadership PAC ran its own independent expenditure TV ad this month in support of Cotton.
“Normally we wouldn’t go in this early,” said Terry Sullivan, director of Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC. “But he’s getting outspent dramatically, so we wanted to come in and help him.”
There has been outside spending in several other states, including West Virginia and Montana — two of Democrats’ most vulnerable open seats. As the landscape inevitably shifts over the next six months, spending will undoubtedly pick up in other states as well.