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Senators Raise Big Bucks Early to Combat Super PACs

Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Pryor of Arkansas raised more than $1.9 million in the first quarter.

2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign and aligned GOP outside groups combined spent about 55 percent of all the money expended on broadcast TV advertising, according to TVB, the trade association of the commercial broadcast TV industry. However, President Barack Obama and aligned Democratic groups purchased about 10 percent more broadcast spots with less money.

The difference was that the Obama campaign purchased nearly 90 percent of its broadcast media, while the Romney campaign accounted for less than 40 percent of GOP broadcast TV buying, according to TVB. The disparity was also due in part to the Obama campaign’s spending strategies, including buying advertising time well ahead of when the spots ran.

One Democratic media buyer pegged the total amount of broadcast and cable TV spending on the presidential campaign at nearly $1.1 billion.

In Senate races last cycle, outside groups spent more than $300 million on a dozen of the priciest contests.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign committees and political action committees from both parties combined to spend $52 million on the top-tier Senate race in Virginia, $46 million in Wisconsin, $39 million in Ohio, $33 million in Indiana and $28 million in Nevada. There was at least $10 million spent by outside groups in seven other states.

“Bottom line, you always want to raise as much as you can to be able to control your own destiny and drive your own messaging,” Potholm said, “especially in the midst of the massive proliferation of outside advertising.”

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