Huge money groups are still on the sidelines in the Colorado Senate race

Huge money groups are still on the sidelines in the Colorado Senate race


The US Senate race in Colorado has become a darling of the national media.

New York timesAnd the Washington Post And the CNN Among the outlets that have parachuted into the state in recent weeks to cover the contest between Democratic US Senator Michael Bennett and Republican challenger Joe O’Dea, under the notion that the state represents a potential surprise pick-up for the Republican Party in November.

But with Labor Day approaching, the unofficial start of the official extension of the campaign season, most of the polls and money — and especially money — haven’t confirmed it.

TV ads worth less than $9 million have been aired or booked in this year’s Senate contest, according to the Colorado Sun’s analysis of contracts submitted to the Federal Communications Commission through Wednesday.

That compares with the nearly $46 million in television advertising that was aired or booked before September 1 in the 2020 Colorado Senate contest between US Republican Senator Cory Gardner and former Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.

“As someone who has participated in a competitive (race) in Congress, when I got a call that the national money was not coming “For my part, that meant I was banned and the race ended,” said Sal Pace, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully to represent Colorado’s third congressional district in 2012. In Colorado, it seems, which means there will be other races determining the composition of the US Senate.”

Pace, a former state legislator and Pueblo County commissioner, lost by 12 percentage points To then-Republican Representative Scott Tipton.

Much of the money spent at this point in the 2020 election cycle came from black money groups, which are nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors. On the Republican side, the dark money was spent by Unite for Colorado and One Nation. Democratic dark money groups that featured television ads included the majority of Forward and Rocky Mountain Values.

The Republican Senate National Committee and the Senate Majority PAC, two federal political action committees, ran ads supporting Gardner and Hickenlooper, respectively. Gardner and Hickenlooper’s campaigns were also broadcasting ads.

Ultimately, $64 million was spent on television advertising in the 2020 contest. The Senate Leadership Fund, a major Republican PAC linked to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., aired ads during September and October, as did the Senate Minority Committee Senate Democratic campaign and other Democratic groups.

The largest spending on television advertising in the Senate race so far this year was the Colorado Democrat, a super PAC funded by the Senate Majority PAC, affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. The group spent $3.4 million on TV ads in the GOP primaries in a failed attempt to push Rep. Ron Hanks, a 2020 election denier, to O’Dea.

Bennett began broadcasting television ads in late July, booking $1.9 million through the end of August. O’Dea began airing ads in early August, booking about $770,000 during the month. Both candidates broadcast Spanish-language TV ads on Telemundo and Univision.

The NRSC spent $241,000 on cable television in August with an ad linking Bennett to Democratic President Joe Biden. But the NRSC and the Senate Leadership Fund haven’t set a fall telecast date yet, a key indication that the race isn’t a priority, as is the fact that National Democratic groups haven’t started spending in Colorado to support Bennett.

“It’s a race we’re watching,” said Jack Bandol, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund. “We are still fans of the race that Joe O’Dea is running in Colorado.”

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Chris Hartline, NRSC’s director of communications, said his organization is “obviously watching the race.” The group is looking at races across the country to determine the best place to spend their money.

“Colorado could be one of those places,” he said.

The Fund for American Politics, a GOP super PAC funded by Colorado builders and owners, has aired ads for O’Dea in the primaries and early August, and some ad purchases are scheduled for October.

If national Republican spending does arrive, it will have to come soon and likely come in large sums as well. County employees can begin mailing ballots to voters for the November elections on October 17.

Television advertising prices are rising as elections approach, and outside groups are paying more than candidates or political parties.

There are some notable differences between the 2020 Senate race and this year’s contest. Namely, Gardner was the incumbent and the former chair of the National Security Council, which meant he had a national support base and a track record of winning in Colorado.

But Gardner was widely expected to lose to Hickenlooper given the national backlash against President Donald Trump. Despite all that spending in Colorado, Gardner lost by 10 percentage points.

US Republican Senator Cory Gardner participates in a debate with Democratic contender and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in Fort Collins, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 (Pool photo)

In 2022, Republicans feel the momentum is in their favor. Biden’s approval numbers nationally and in Colorado are poor, and the party in charge of the White House has traditionally lost seats in Congress during midterm elections.

Additionally, the Republican Party sees O’Dea as their ideal candidate in Colorado: moderate, compared to the rest of his party, on issues such as abortion and his support for Trump.

However, O’Dea appears to have a very steep hill to climb towards Washington.

Public Policy Polling, a Democrat company, on Wednesday Poll results released Conducted among 782 Colorado voters from August 30-31, Bennett leads O’Day by a wide margin, 46%-35%. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

43% of those surveyed said they had a positive opinion of Bennett, 37% said they had a negative opinion of him, and 20% said they were unsure. For O’Dea, 27% said they had a positive opinion of him, 29% said they had a negative opinion of him and 44% said they were unsure how they felt about O’Dea, indicating that the first-time candidate still has work to do. do to make sure that residents of Colorado know who he is.

Biden’s approval numbers remain weak, according to the poll. 43 percent of those surveyed said they approved of the job he does, 51 percent said they did not, and 6 percent said they were unsure.

Republicans celebrate an internal poll among 600 potential Colorado voters between August 22-25 showing Audi trailing Bennett by just one percentage point — 48% for Bennett and 47% for Audi with 5% undecided.

The poll, the results of which are the only publicly released that show the race is highly volatile, was conducted by the Tarrance Group, a Virginia-based Republican firm, on behalf of the Republican Attorney General’s Association. The margin of error was 4.1 percentage points.

RAGA . poll was Issued to The Washington Examiner by the Colorado Republican Party. The Sun requested a copy from the State Party, but did not receive one.

The NRSC said the poll is an indication that “Joe Audi is a great candidate who meets the moment.” Zack Rudy, campaign manager for O’Dea, touted the results on Twitter as evidence of his candidate’s momentum.

Both the Tarrance Collection and Public Policy Surveys are well rated by FiveThirtyEightthe website for election speculation and political and sports statistics, although it is impossible to assess the effectiveness of the Tarrance Group poll without going through the details of its method.

Colorado Republicans hope national aid for Audi comes as GOP Senate candidates falter in other states, prompting the party’s spending plans to change.

On Wednesday, Crystal Paul Sabato, a nonpartisan expert on election forecasting at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, Changed its rankings for Senate races in Pennsylvania and Arizonawhere Republicans hoped for seats, from swingers to lean Democrats.

Senate Leadership Fund Eliminate $8 million in scheduled TV ads in Arizona earlier in the week.

the Republican Party He has concerns too About the chances of Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia, as he tries to oust Democratic US Senator Raphael Warnock.

But the situation in other states is a double-edged sword for Audi: Republicans could decide to double their number in those places and spend huge sums of money trying to help their candidates run there. Or the Republican Party could shift its focus and resources to Colorado, where no Republican candidate has won statewide office since 2016.

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