Pennsylvania Senate Race Breaks Spending Record

Outside spending in the tossup race still flooding in

Pennsylvania Sen. Patrick J. Toomey's race for re-election against Democrat Katie McGinty could determine control of the Senate, but it's now also the most expensive Senate race ever. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo).

With a little less than two weeks before Election Day, the Pennsylvania Senate race has set a new spending record of $113 million by candidate committees and independent groups. 

Incumbent Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey is in a tight race against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty that could determine which party controls the Senate in the next Congress.

The race has already surpassed the previous most expensive race from 2014, when Republican Thom Tillis unseated Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. 

The latest RealClearPolitics average of polls from Oct. 4 through Oct. 19 give Toomey a lead over McGinty of slightly under 2 points. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as a Tossup

[Roll Call's 2016 Election Guide: Senate]

Close Senate races in other states are attracting huge spending as well, CNBC reported. Aside from Pennsylvania, four of the top 10 spending races — New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida — have each exceeded $50 million in spending. 

In Florida and Ohio, the fourth- and fifth-highest spending races of this cycle, Republican incumbent Sens. Marco Rubio and Rob Portman have sizable leads. The latest RealClearPolitics average gives Rubio a 3.6-point lead over Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy while Portman has an advantage of more than 15 points over Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland. 

The remaining five races in the top 10 range from around $24 million to $44 million in spending. The majority of spending in the 10 most expensive races come from outside groups, such as political action committees and independent groups.

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Eight of the 10 races feature incumbent Republicans trying to hold onto their seats amid a presidential race in which the GOP standard-bearer Donald Trump is losing ground. 

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