Independent Expenditures Out-spent Campaigns in Two PA Races

Toomey and FitzIndependent expenditures out-spent candidates in 27 races nationally, including two in Pennsylvania.  

According to, independent expenditure groups spent more than the candidates in the Pennsylvania Senate race, and the PA-8.  

The Senate race had the largest disparity in the entire country between candidate and outside group spending, outside groups spent $66,656,170 more than the candidates.  The campaigns for Senate spent a total of $52,783,592, a tiny sum compared to the $119,439,762 spent by outside groups.  

The PA-8th race had the eighth largest difference between the candidates and outside groups, outside groups spent $9,371,570 more than the candidates did.  

In each race the Republican won the race, Senator Pat Toomey and now Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.  

According to OpenSecrets there has been a downward trend in the number of races where outside groups spent more than the candidates.  In 2012 there were 32 instances and in 2014 there were 28, compared to the 27 in 2016.  This does not mean less money is going into the races.  The disparity has grown from less than $100 million difference across all the races in 2012 to $316,428,340 difference in 2016.  

“Many super PACs have turned toward assuming traditional campaign roles, such as field work, get-out-the-vote activity, and opposition research, rather than solely focusing on expensive TV ads,” Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen told OpenSecrets.  

As these groups pour money into these races, it is changing the way the campaigns organize themselves, especially for statewide races.

“The fundamental organizing principle of almost every non-presidential campaign is scarcity of resources – something that is less of a factor in presidential campaigns. In the past couple cycles, there has been so much more money poured into these US Senate campaigns that they are becoming, in effect, mini-presidential races,” J.J. Balaban, Democratic strategist who has worked for statewide campaigns including Joe Sestak, said.  

“That gives well-resourced Senate campaigns the flexibility to employ presidential-level tactics, and a smart Senate campaign will use that advantage to do things differently.”

7 Responses

  1. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Shuster has done a great job with the Transportation Committee. Of course not. If your guy is losing, Shuster must be cheating. I love watching you tools search for reasons that don’t include the fact that your candidate was horrible. If you think airline money made up a 13 point difference in the race you’re smoking what Depasquale is selling.

  2. The airline industry also threw in a big pile of money for Bill Shuster at the last minute in PA-9. The fact that Shuster’s girlfriend is a top lobbyist for that same industry had nothing to do with it I’m sure.

  3. Who ever said that elections can’t be bought was in la, la land!
    My home district in PA was one that was bought by outsiders as he seemed to be more dependable as a candidate because his brother had served them well.

  4. Perfect illustration of how govt is bought and paid for under the auspices of CITIZENS UNITED law.

  5. The Koch brothers got what they paid for in PA. “Americans for prosperity” was one of the main spenders in both of these races. Report on the GOPs national strategy to buy elections. Their judges legalized corruption, and now it’s paying off

  6. All that money wasted that could have gone to actually help people. Prime reason why there should be caps on the amount you can spend on a campaign. That way it’d be more about the issues, not who can get the most money.

Comments are closed.

  • When Should The Special Elections For The PA House Be Held?

    • May 16, 2023 (Primary Day) (51%)
    • March, 2023 (47%)
    • April, 2023 (2%)

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