Despite underperforming in congressional races across the board on Election Day, Democrats still have a chance to win control of the Senate and give themselves the fleetingly rare opportunity of controlling both chambers of Congress while having an ally in the White House. If Democrats prevail in both of the Georgia Senate runoff races that are set to take place on Jan. 5, the Senate would have a 50/50 split and Senate President-elect Kamala Harris would be able to break tie votes.
But so far Democratic spending groups are staying on the sidelines while their GOP counterparts have begun spending millions of dollars on ads, mailers, and door-to-door canvassing efforts to support Republican candidates Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Outside groups backing the Republicans have reported spending more than $2.5 million since Election Day, according to a Sludge review of Federal Election Commission filings. No groups have yet to report spending any money supporting Democrats in the races.
The group spending the most so far for the Republicans in Georgia is a Carey committee called National Victory Action Fund, which formed in October and spent on several other Senate races last month. National Victory Action Fund has reported spending $1.15 million on pro-Loeffler and pro-Perdue online ads and email communications since November 4. The group does not have a website and was registered in Virginia by an individual who serves as a treasurer for many Republican-aligned PACs. It has so far only disclosed two donors who gave $250 each through its WinRed page.
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The second biggest pro-GOP spender in the Georgia runoffs has been FreedomWorks for America, with $578,392 in reported spending on printing, canvassing, and television ads. The group’s largest expenditures so far are two $173,000 ad buys on Hulu, one supporting each of the Republicans. FreedomWorks for America is the super PAC affiliate of the FreedomWorks “dark money” organization that was spawned from the David Koch-founded Citizens for a Sound Economy in 2004. FreedomWorks for America has reported taking $250,000 from its parent group this election cycle, in addition to many donations in the tens of thousands from individuals who are not that well known as major GOP donors.
The Koch-affiliated super PAC Americans for Prosperity Action has spent $440,000 on canvassing expenses, door hanger production, and digital ads on the Georgia races since Election Day, according to FEC records. All of AFP Action’s expenditures so far have been in favor of Perdue. AFP Action’s top donor this election cycle has been Charles Koch’s oil, chemicals, paper, and electronics manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries.
Other groups that have reported spending to boost the Republican candidates in Georgia include the Jim DeMint-founded Senate Conservatives Fund, the PAC of the Koch-founded onservative advocacy group Club for Growth, and the pro-Loeffler super PAC Georgia United Victory, which is mainly funded by Loeffler’s husband Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange.
In both of the Georgia Senate elections that were held on Nov. 3, no candidate secured 50% of the vote, which under state election law sends the races to automatic runoffs between the top two vote getters to determine the winner. Democrat Raphael Warnock came out on top of his opponent Sen. Kelly Loeffler with a lead of about 6% in the general election, while Republican Sen. David Perdue had a slim lead over Democrat John Ossoff of less than 2% with 99% of the vote counted. If Democrats were to win both seats and Joe Biden were to be sworn in as president, it would be the first time that Democrats had simultaneous control of both chambers of Congress and the White House since the 111th session in 2009-10, when they enacted the Affordable Care Act.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has formed a joint fundraising committee with Warnock and Ossoff and is raising funds from big Democratic donors including several who appeared on Joe Biden’s list of bundlers who collected checks totaling $100,000 or more. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee told Newsweek today that it had already raised $30 million for Loeffler and Perdue since last week.
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