GOP Spending Jump In Wisconsin Senate Race Alarms Democrats

by | Sep 21, 2022 | Politics

Republicans have outspent Democrats by more than $1.6 million over the past two weeks of Wisconsin’s crucial Senate race, according to media buying data obtained by HuffPost, alarming Wisconsin Democrats who fear the cash could swamp Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in his battle with GOP Sen. Ron Johnson.“We can’t take Wisconsin for granted the way Wisconsin was taken for granted in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lost the state,” said Joe Zepecki, a Democratic strategist and a veteran of Wisconsin politics, referring to Clinton’s now-infamous decision to never visit the state during her campaign against former President Donald Trump. “Where is the calvary? The path to victory in Wisconsin is there.”AdvertisementJohnson, who is consistently unpopular in public surveys, is considered the most vulnerable Republican Senate incumbent in the country. Polling in the race, however, remains close.The GOP’s spending edge comes as Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC controlled by allies of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, is two weeks into a post-Labor Day surge of spending that will ultimately top $156 million nationally. The group has spent $2.2 million in the past two weeks, helping give Johnson an edge in all of the state’s media markets except Madison. That amount has been slightly surpassed by Senate Majority PAC, its Democratic rival, which has spent roughly $2.4 million.Republicans have also had a more than 3,000-point advantage in gross ratings points, or GRP, which measures how many people are reached by advertising.AdvertisementThat’s not always the case when the GOP outspends Democrats, since Democrats typically have an advantage in candidate spending, giving them more bang for their buck. (TV stations are required to sell advertising time to candidates at the lowest possible rate, a rule that does not apply to outside groups.)A major issue: Barnes’ small-dollar fundraising dramatically trails other Democrats, in part b …

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