Michigan has always been on the Senate map: it’s just one of two states Trump won in 2016 where Democratic senators are eligible for re-election. But South Carolina’s emergence as a costly battleground — and perhaps a money pit for both sides — with Kansas shows how Democrats have widened their lanes to snatch a 53-47 majority from Republicans. .
Heavy in defense
South Carolina is the latest addition to states where Republicans are spending to try to protect incumbent senators at risk. The party has spent tens of millions in key battlegrounds like Arizona, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina, all of which were considered highly competitive as the election cycle began. But the SLF or affiliated organizations have also spent money in Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and Montana, all red-leaning states where investments have helped provide a safety net against drug collections. Democratic funds high with polls showing competitive contests.
The additional $7.2 million purchase from Kansas comes on top of the more than $4 million they spent after Rep. Roger Marshall’s GOP primary victory. Marshall now faces Democrat Barbara Bollier.
Democrats have expanded the Senate map by fielding candidates who are raising massive sums from small donors, giving them a financial advantage over GOP campaigns in virtually every race on the map.
The gap was greatest in South Carolina. Harrison is likely to erase fundraising records: He raised $1million last month – and that was before Democrats’ fundraising spiked nationwide following the judge’s death Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democrats expect his third-quarter fundraising total to be among the highest on record, particularly against Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Harrison has spent $40 million on ads so far, compared to just $15 million for Graham, according to data from Advertising Analytics. Harrison is expected to spend $12 million by Election Day, compared to Graham’s $4.4 million, though both campaigns will almost certainly add more to those totals.
Another super PAC who backs Graham has earmarked $3 million from now and on Election Day, but the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC doubles that amount with $6.5 million. It all comes down to Graham being absolutely swamped on the airwaves by a margin worse than any other candidate in the country.
With polls showing the race deadlocked, this deficit would spell major trouble for Graham without outside help.
“The far-left money spigot was turned on for liberal lobbyist Jamie Harrison, and now he’s flooding South Carolina with funds from his liberal donors,” SLF President Steven Law said in a statement. announcing the investment, calling it an “insurance policy”. for Republicans.
Guy King, a spokesperson for Harrison, responded by alluding to Graham recently To ask new campaign donations during Fox News appearances.
“After weeks of desperately begging for money, Senator Graham and his allies in Washington are clearly pushing the panic button,” King said.
The Michigan Opportunity
Despite a map that tilts heavily against the party, Republicans continue to push their offensive opportunities to flesh out their disputed majority.
By far, the best opportunity for Republicans to overturn a seat is in Alabama, where Tommy Tubervile is considered the favorite against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. Outside groups from neither party have invested heavily in this state, despite Jones’ huge financial advantage against Tuberville, a former football coach who sent former Sen. Jeff Sessions to the primary.
But Michigan represents the only other state where Republicans have invested in the offense, and a competitive race here opens the possibility of an additional bulwark against Democrats taking control of the chamber. James, who lost the 2018 Senate race, has proven to be one of his party’s top fundraisers and has outstripped Peters in most districts over the past two years.
Still, Peters has led in every recent public poll — including a 5-point lead in the most recent survey, from NBC News/Marist — and Democrats as a party have outspent Republicans. Trump also trails Biden in the state, which is likely the toughest of the trio of Great Lakes states he won in 2016 for him to make a comeback. James would likely need to edge Trump a few percentage points to win.
Peters has spent $15 million compared to James’ $11.5 million so far this year, according to Advertising Analytics, and the Democrats’ campaign also currently has a $2 million advantage by Election Day. Meanwhile, the Senate Majority PAC has so far outspent GOP groups.
The influx of SLF can also be seen as an insurance policy for James in case the Trump campaign forgoes Michigan entirely. According to a NBC News analysis released Thursday, Biden has already outspent Trump on TV since Labor Day, from $12 million to $3.7 million.
What to watch next
This is the time in the election calendar when ad buys shift as both sides weigh their best opportunities and greatest needs. Each party’s investment reflects its view of the most competitive states and its best bet on a majority.
In 2016, the map shrank when Democrats were forced to pull cash from races in Ohio and Florida in the early fall. In 2018, the map shrunk significantly when Republicans decided against investing in overthrowing four Democratic incumbents from the Midwest.
The SLF’s actions on Thursday suggest it still sees a path to victory in Michigan – but, more worryingly, the major buy in South Carolina is a sign of trouble in a state where Democrats won no Senate race since 1998. If you told Republicans early in the election cycle that they would sink seven figures in South Carolina in October, they probably wouldn’t believe it — and they’d know their backs would be against the wall.
Yet neither party completely eliminated a candidate they were already spending money on. Democrats haven’t invested anything in Alabama, where Jones is a heavy underdog, but he has an 8-to-1 advantage over the Tuberville campaign going into Election Day. The smallest remaining Republicans the purchases are now in Alaska and Colorado, where they have $3.5 million to boost Sen. Cory Gardner, perhaps their most vulnerable incumbent — roughly equal to what the majority in the Senate PAC, the Democratic group, spends there.