A super PAC aligned with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has spent nearly $300,000 in the past week in heated special election in Ohio that’s considered a bellwether test for Democrats seeking a “blue wave” in November.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, which works to elect Republicans to the House of Representatives, has spent almost $290,000 on advertising expenses supporting Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson for Ohio’s 12th Congressional district and opposing Democrat Danny O’Connor, according to records with the Federal Election Commission. In May, Ryan flew to Las Vegas to secure a $30 million donation to the Congressional Leadership Fund from casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, Politico reported. Since Ryan is a federally elected official, the Wisconsin Republican can’t solicit donations of that magnitude and reportedly walked out of the room when the donation was sought and secured.
The super PAC has spent nearly $105,000 on “media placement” this past week that supports Balderson’s bid for Congress, FEC records show. They also spent the same amount on media opposing O’Connor. The Ryan-linked PAC spent an additional $80,000 on “ground game” supporting the Balderson and opposing O’Connor.
The race for Ohio’s 12th Congressional district has been closely monitored as a test for Democrats on whether they can secure a blue wave in the midterm elections this fall. The outcome of Tuesday’s race is also seen as a test for the political clout of the Trump administration, which failed to secure a Republican win in a tight race in Pennsylvania in February.
President Donald Trump spoke at a Balderson rally this weekend, and Vice President Mike has also campaigned for Balderson. Trump reaffirmed his endorsement of Balderson Tuesday on Twitter, claiming that O’Connor is “weak on crime” and tying him to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Republican establishment has poured roughly $7.42 million into Ohio’s 12th congressional district, with the bulk of the funding going toward opposing O’Connor and supporting Balderson. The Congressional Leadership Fund has spent more than $3.18 million in the race. The National Republican Congressional Committee has spent roughly $1.31 million.
The Democratic establishment, meanwhile, has maintained a tighter hold of their wallets. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent roughly $630,000 on the race.