The bongino report

Republicans Pour Over $6 Million Into Pennsylvania Senate Race Hours Before Lone Debate Between Oz and Fetterman


Republicans are pouring more than $6 million into Pennsylvania’s Senate race hours before the lone debate between their nominee Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman, according to details first shared with POLITICO.

Groups linked to the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC, which is aligned with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, are going all-in on Pennsylvania in the sprint to Election Day. The super PAC slashed millions in New Hampshire ad reservations last week and is diverting that money to help Oz beat Fetterman in a battle Republicans view as essential to their hopes of taking the Senate majority.

The Pennsylvania race has tightened considerably after a deluge of GOP attack ads against Fetterman and as Republican voters consolidate behind Oz after a contentious primary this spring. Fetterman is still leading in most polls, but Republicans say there’s an opening for Oz in the campaign’s final days.

“Dr. Oz is surging, but Democrats are throwing a barrage of late spending into Pennsylvania to stop his momentum,” said Steven Law, president of the Senate Leadership Fund. “This is a must-win race where we have to consolidate our firepower to ensure Oz gets over the top. We believe if we win Pennsylvania, we win the majority.”

There is intense pressure on Republicans to hold on to the Pennsylvania seat that retiring GOP Sen. Pat Toomey currently holds. If Fetterman takes it, the GOP’s path to taking back the Senate becomes much harder, requiring the party to defeat two Democratic incumbents rather than one in the evenly split chamber.

Currently both parties are focused squarely on Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada — three toss-up races that may determine who claims the majority next year. Whichever party can win two of those three is likely to hold the keys to the Senate.

The races in New Hampshire and Arizona are also close, albeit with a consistent Democratic advantage. The GOP super PAC slashed its ad reservations in Arizona earlier this year; after spending weeks on the air in New Hampshire aiding Republican nominee Don Bolduc, the group pulled its final ad buys there last week to shore up Pennsylvania.

Fetterman and Oz will face off on the debate stage on Tuesday evening for the first and last time. The Democratic lieutenant governor suffered a stroke earlier this year, and Oz badgered Fetterman for weeks about setting up more debates to no avail.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee also announced it is increasing its digital campaign, which informs Pennsylvanians how to vote, to more than $1 million. Patrick Burgwinkle, a spokesperson for the DSCC, said that “Pennsylvania is home to one of the most consequential Senate races in the country this year and every vote will matter — which is why the DSCC is making sure Pennsylvanians know about their options.”

Democrats had enjoyed a slight spending advantage on the air waves in Pennsylvania over the last two weeks with their previous reservations, prior to the move by the Senate Leadership Fund. The state will see an obscene amount of political spending over the next two weeks totaling more than $40 million.

Democrats are currently slated to spend more than $24 million over the final two weeks, the bulk of which comes from the Democratic Senate Majority PAC, according to AdImpact, while Republicans are poised to spend more than $18 million during that period.

The GOP’s new $6.2 million investment will be split between two entities, with ads beginning Tuesday and running through the election.

American Crossroads will spend $2.5 million on TV ads and $500,000 on radio, while Faith and Power PAC will spend about $3.2 million on TV ads. Faith and Power PAC was last seen in North Carolina promoting liberal candidate Erica Smith in the state’s Democratic Senate primary in 2020.

Now, in Pennsylvania, the group is launching a negative ad focused on Fetterman’s record on crime — hitting on a consistent theme of the GOP’s late advertising push. In the new ad, Bucks County Sheriff Fred Harran calls Fetterman’s policies on sentencing “insane” and says: “Protect your family: Don’t vote Fetterman.”

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