Democratic activists have dreams of winning majorities in both the House and Senate this year, but at least in the Senate, Democratic donors are largely playing defense.
That’s a function of the congressional map, in which Democrats and their independent allies are defending 24 seats, while only nine Republican-held seats are in play. Many more of the Democratic seats are also in Republican-leaning states, while most of the Republicans up for re-election are in safe seats.
The biggest super PAC in the country is the Senate Majority PAC, which has raised $56.6 million so far to help elect Democrats. Of the eight races in which it’s most involved, seven feature Democratic incumbents seeking re-election while only one, in Nevada, has Democrats hoping to pick up a seat.
The candidate in need of the most help, judging by the PAC’s giving, is Claire McCaskill of Missouri. She has a mostly liberal voting record despite a constituency that supported President Donald Trump in 2016 by 18.5 percentage points. She faces a tough vote this fall on a new Supreme Court nominee.
The PAC is spending more money ($4.6 million) against GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is seeking his party’s nomination to take on McCaskill, than it is for McCaskill herself ($1.4 million), an indication that it feels Hawley could pose a formidable challenge if he wins the August primary.