Senate GOP super PAC books $141 million in TV ads

The Republican super PAC tied to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has reserved $141 million in television advertising across seven states, offering an early hint at what GOP leaders see as their path back to a majority.

The Senate Leadership Fund on Monday said it had reserved airtime in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, three states where Democratic incumbents are fighting for reelection.

The PAC will air advertising in Alaska and Wisconsin to defend Republican incumbents, and in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, two states where incumbent Republicans are retiring.

The largest investment is reserved for Georgia, where Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is seeking a full term after winning a special runoff election last January. The Senate Leadership Fund will drop $37.1 million there, likely to bolster former NFL running back Herschel Walker (R), who still faces a Republican primary later this year.

The PAC plans to spend $14.4 million against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and $15.1 million against Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). It has reserved $27.6 million to defend retiring Sen. Richard Burr’s (R) seat in North Carolina, and $24.6 million to secure retiring Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R) seat in Pennsylvania.

The group has reserved $7.4 million for Alaska, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) faces a challenge from a candidate who has the backing of former President Trump. That money will come after the Aug. 16 all-party primary; the top four contenders in that primary advance to the November general election.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R) will get a boost from the $15.2 million the PAC plans to spend in Wisconsin. Johnson will face the winner of the Aug. 9 Democratic primary.

“It will be a battle for every inch, but we are putting everything we have into delivering a Republican Senate majority that will put a stop to Joe Biden’s worst policies,” the group’s communications director Jack Pandol said.

The group’s one notable omission is in New Hampshire, where Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) is seeking reelection. Several Republicans are vying for the nomination to face Hassan in a primary that takes place Sept. 13.

The nine-figure ad buy is the largest initial purchase the Senate Leadership Fund has made. Two years ago, the PAC’s first round of television advertising amounted to $67 million; it raised and spent nearly half a billion dollars in 2020.

Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show the group has raised nearly $75 million already this year and ended April with $72 million in the bank. Political groups can reserve advertising time even before they have the money to pay for it; they do not have to send money to the television stations that will air the ads until shortly before those ads run.

The Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic counterpart to the Senate Leadership Fund, had $36 million in the bank at the end of February.

Updated at 9:57 a.m.

Senate GOP super PAC books $141 million in TV ads