Super PACS Flooding Key Senate Races With Cash

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 10:09 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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As Republicans angle to retake control of the Senate in November, and their Democratic counterparts struggle to hang on to the majority, Super PACS are flooding coffers to influence the outcome of elections, The Washington Post reports.

Democratic groups have seen a cash infusion, according to the Post, with the liberal Senate Majority PAC raising $11 million just this quarter. The organization supports vulnerable Senate Democrats, such as Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, North Carolina’s Kay Hagan, Colorado’s Mark Udall, and Mark Begich of Alaska.

Another Democratic super PAC, House Majority PAC, was the recipient of numerous six-figure contributions from labor unions and wealthy individuals like Slimfast founder Daniel Abraham and hedge fund manager Donald Sussman, the Post reports.

House Majority PAC boasted nearly $7 million in the bank at the start of the month.
But despite sizable donations, Democrats can’t seem to match the financial muscle of key conservative groups, namely Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the nonprofit advocacy group of billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch.

In a push to remove Democratic senators from their posts, AFP has spent $34 million on 17,000 television ads just in the past six months, according to the Post and Bloomberg Businessweek.

Conservative group American Crossroads has begun running ads on behalf of Republicans in Alaska and North Carolina. At the end of March, American Crossroads had raised more than $6.3 million, according to the Post.

And Freedom Partners, also conservative, is buying TV spots in Louisiana, Iowa, and Colorado, while TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts’ group, Ending Spending, is raising big money in support of reduced government, Bloomberg Businessweek reported in March.

Conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson gave Ending Spending $1 million in 2012, according to Bloomberg.

"Like a lot of conservatives, we’re really independent-minded, and that led us to want to have more of a say in how money is spent on particular candidates and campaigns and ad buys," Ricketts’ son, Todd Ricketts, a Chicago Cubs co-owner, told Bloomberg. "It has become clear to me that policy is made by the people who show up. We’re showing up."

Republican donors are buoyed by the "impressive" conservative candidates seeking office, according to American Crossroads President Steven Law.

"These numbers put us in a solid position to continue impacting key Senate races where we can help elect Republicans who will clean up the mess that President Obama and Harry Reid are making in Washington," he told the Post.

The GOP needs a net gain of six seats to seize control of the Senate.

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