The Democratic Senatorial Campaign’s independent expenditure arm will spend $1.1 million on TV ads in Pennsylvania to back Senate candidate Katie McGinty, according to a source tracking the buy.
The ads will begin running statewide on Tuesday, April 12 and run through the end of the primary, on April 26, according to four sources with knowledge of the buy. The ads will run on broadcast and cable.
The ads mark a significant escalation in the committee’s attempts to help McGinty defeat former Rep. Joe Sestak, the party’s 2010 nominee for Senate whose goes-his-own-way style has alienated many Democratic leaders. Starting this week, the committee was spending $425,000 of its own cash in a coordinated expenditure with McGinty.
The former Al Gore adviser trails Sestak in polls with fewer than three weeks before the primary. She’s lagged behind the onetime congressman despite near universal support from the Democratic establishment, including endorsements from the DSCC, President Barack Obama and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
The DSCC’s unusually heavy spending against Sestak can be attributed in part to the belief among some party leaders that he would make a weak general election candidate against Republican incumbent Sen. Patrick J. Toomey. But Sestak’s allies counter that those leaders are letting their personal feelings of the former Navy admiral cloud their clear-eyed political judgment, pointing to the fact that he narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010 despite that year’s heavy Republican tilt.
The extra spending on McGinty could prove controversial with some Democrats, who — focused on trying to win back a Senate majority — will argue that the cash is better used directly against Republicans than in the primary.