State Watch

Senate GOP PAC books millions in red state ad spending

Greg Nash
The super PAC tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reserved more than $16 million in late television spending in three red states crucial to the GOP’s hopes of expanding their majority.
 
The Senate Leadership Fund said Monday it had reserved $7.1 million in Indiana, where Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) faces former state legislator Mike Braun (R); $4.2 million in Tennessee, where former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) will face Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R); and $5 million in West Virginia, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D) faces Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).
 
The group’s Democratic counterpart, the Senate Majority PAC, has booked $80 million in television advertising across nine states, ads that are set to begin after Labor Day.
 
The Democratic PAC declined to detail its spending by state. But partial advertising data provided by a Republican source shows the Senate Majority PAC has purchased at least $4.5 million in Indiana, $2 million in Tennessee and $3.8 million in West Virginia.
 
Those figures are likely to grow as the Senate Majority PAC finalizes its purchases.
 
The Senate Leadership Fund had already purchased more than $10 million in television time in Missouri and Nevada, where Sens. Claire McCaskill (D) and Dean Heller (R), respectively, are running for reelection. The group blocked off $2.3 million in air time in North Dakota for spots aimed at Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D).
 
All told, the Republican super PAC has booked $40.3 million in television time, about half of what the Senate Majority PAC says it has reserved.
 
Committees buying television time do not actually have to send payment until the ads are set to run. According to the most recent campaign finance reports, the Senate Majority PAC had $29 million in the bank, more than double the $13.5 million the Senate Leadership Fund had in the bank.
 
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, similarly, has a big cash lead over its Republican counterpart. That group had $34 million in the bank as of the end of May, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee had $16.3 million in reserve.
Tags Claire McCaskill Dean Heller Heidi Heitkamp Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin Marsha Blackburn Mitch McConnell
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