With less than one month until the Georgia Senate runoffs, American voters outside the Peach State are frantically donating to candidates and committees there, hoping their party can secure the Senate majority.
Among outside groups and party committees, Republicans have the upper hand. Senate Republican infrastructure has raised far more than Democratic groups, with nearly five times more cash left to spend in the final weeks of the race.
The Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised more than their counterparts, the Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, from mid-October to mid-November. They also ended November with far more cash on hand, much of which they are expected to spend in Georgia. The two Republican groups had a combined $97.6 million left and the Democratic groups only have $19.6 million.
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As of Nov. 23, the Senate Leadership Fund had $60.8 million in the bank — that’s 28 times more than Senate Majority PAC, which had only $2.1 million left. The NRSC had $36.8 million left to spend while the DSCC had only $17.5 million.
Much of these final reserves came from last-minute donations. Attempting to hold on to their Senate majority, Republican donors gave more to their top Senate committees than Democrats did from mid-October through mid-November. Nearly one-quarter of all contributions to the Senate Leadership Fund were made during that period. The group, which is aligned with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), raised $104.1 million in total, about half of which came from seven individuals. Blackstone Group executive Stephen Schwarzman gave $15 million on Nov. 12, when it was clear that the Georgia runoffs would decide control of the Senate.
Senate Majority PAC, which is aligned with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), raised $89.8 million from mid-October through mid-November. That’s $14.2 million less than the Senate Leadership Fund raised. No one individual donated more than $3 million during that time period.
Both groups are spending millions in Georgia. The Republican committee has already spent $59 million against Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Meanwhile, Senate Majority PAC spent $31.4 million against Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), $247,000 against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) $2.7 million for Democratic challenger Rev. Raphael Warnock and $1.9 million for Ossoff.
The Senate Leadership Fund primarily spends on attack ads against Ossoff that frequently tie him to “radical liberals,” naming Schumer, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). One ad warns that “liberal mega donors are backing Ossoff with untold millions in dark money.” Another states, “dirty money, a dirtier agenda — that’s Jon Ossoff.”
Yet both sides are bankrolled by “dark money.” Majority Forward funds Senate Majority PAC and One Nation, a Karl Rove-linked dark money group, gives to the Senate Leadership Fund. It’s the biggest dark money donor this cycle.
Thanks to their large fundraising hauls, these two Senate groups are now the top-spending outside groups this election cycle. The Senate Leadership Fund eclipsed Priorities USA Action, a pro-Biden hybrid PAC that once ranked No. 1, as well as Senate Majority PAC.
Like the Senate Leadership Fund, the NRSC beat out the DSCC, and raised $38.7 million more from mid-October to mid-November. However, the Democratic group has raised $15.3 million more overall this election cycle.
Both groups have used their cash to persuade voters in the Peach State. The NRSC spent $9.2 million against Warnock and Ossoff, with most of it going to attack ads against Ossoff. The group also spent $25,000 to help Perdue. Meanwhile, the DSCC spent far less, only $529,000 for their candidates, and none against the Republicans. Both groups are expected to spend heavily in Georgia this month ahead of the Jan. 5 runoff.
Whether these groups are able to use their final funds effectively in Georgia is a different question. The two Republican groups had high success rates this fall. The Senate Leadership Fund spent 79.2 percent of its money to back winning candidates, and the NRSC spent 73.9 percent. The Democrats, who lost some of the most expensive Senate races, did poorly. Senate Majority PAC spent only 29.2 percent of its money in races that Democrats won and the DSCC spent a measly 7.8 percent.