Senate Republican super PAC’s highest spending in Colorado
Top Republican officials have long teased that making a play in Colorado — and to a lesser extent, Washington — was possible this midterm election, given Biden’s lackluster approval ratings, pursuit of the high inflation across the country and swings to the right of voters in elections in Virginia and New Jersey last fall.
« We’ve been watching Colorado and we like what we see there, » SLF President Steven Law said in a statement to POLITICO. « We believe Michael Bennet is vulnerable. »
The new support for O’Dea’s candidacy comes as outside Democratic groups have raced to help Bennet, even though public polls have shown Bennet to have a consistent lead. The League of Conservation Voters super PAC bought $1.3 million worth of Bennet ads on Friday, after a combined total of $5 million in recent weeks from Giffords PAC, the gun control super PAC to late associated with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and another Democrat group.
New Democratic efforts to back the two-term senator show that, despite leading O’Dea in the polls, Bennet remains in a vulnerable position this fall. A poll last week by the Democratic group Data for Progress showed Bennet leading by 9 percentage points – but also found his favor rating at 43%, one point below Biden’s.
Bennet himself also suggested that senatorial elections would be contested in Colorado this year.
Democrats poured millions into Colorado’s Republican Senate primary this year in an unsuccessful effort to prevent O’Dea from becoming the nominee, believing his more conservative main challenger would be an unviable challenger in the general election.
The SLF’s involvement in the races has been crucial for Republican Senate candidates, whose fundraising totals have paled in comparison to their Democratic rivals. The GOP must defend several competitive states while flipping at least one Democratic seat to regain control of the tightly divided chamber.
Super PAC McConnell’s decision to pull out of Arizona this fall, for example, made Blake Masters’ task of overturning a seat even longer, but prompted other outside Republican groups to scramble to make up the difference. .
And the SLF’s decision to stay in New Hampshire, where the group is spending $23 million this fall, gives Republicans a chance to oust the Democratic senator. Maggie Hassan, which remains in the lead. The SLF continues to spend in the state despite the GOP’s nomination of Don Bolduc, a candidate who ran in the primary on a platform of 2020 election denialism and other related positions.
While the Republican National Senate Committee told POLITICO on Friday it was reducing its remaining ad buys in New Hampshire to spend elsewhere, the SLF said it had not changed its spending plans in the state of Granite. In August, the NRSC made a small ad buy in Colorado, spending less than $250,000 on a TV spot attacking Bennet for voting with Biden.
Currently, Democrats continue to have a spending advantage in the Colorado race, having earmarked or earmarked $18 million in ads, compared to Republicans’ $12 million.