Dollars don’t vote, people do.
But new federally mandated campaign finance reports show US Senate candidates from Pennsylvania, David McCormick and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, won their respective parties’ “monetary primaries” in the first quarter. of 2022, and that counts for something because all those dollars help candidates reach the maximum number of people.
And Pennsylvania Senate primary spending has been relentless so far, with Kantar/CMAG analysis showing $39.16 million was spent through April 12 on paid TV ads — whether on broadcast networks, cable channels or satellite platforms. That makes open-seat racing here the second most expensive in the country, and just a hair behind shopping in neighboring Ohio.
With the balance of power in the US Senate currently at 50-50, the two seats are expected to be critical in determining Senate majority control in the next Congress. The Pennsylvania candidates are seeking to replace U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who is not seeking re-election this year.
The first quarter is an important time as candidates need to have war chests for the final stretch of the campaign – Election Day is May 17 and some voters will start receiving mail-in ballots later this month. this. And in McCormick’s case, the relentless paid advertising has already gotten a relative unknown to most voters into the Republican field’s top tier of seven.
McCormick has raised $4.35 million from contributors through March 31, according to a new set of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, to lead all Republican candidates in collected donations.
In the Democratic realm, Fetterman’s prominent campaign committee raised $3.1 million in the quarter, setting him up well for the kind of paid media campaign he wants in the final month of the primary race. .
Only two other Senate candidates raised more than $1 million in new contributions for the quarter: Democrat Conor Lamb, a U.S. Representative from southwestern Pennsylvania; and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the daytime television personality who parachutes in from New Jersey to make his point as a “conservative outsider.”
The two topped $1.7 million in donations for the quarter.
Invest in yourself.
The candidates’ self-funding provided McCormick and Oz with unparalleled air superiority through the winter and early spring.
Oz, the biggest fundraiser in the race and, as of last week, the Trump-endorsed nominee, has literally doubled down on itself according to the latest round of filings with the Federal Election Commission.
With an additional $5.850 million in direct campaign loans from January through March, Oz has now invested just over $11 million of his personal wealth in the campaign. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Oz has disclosed total assets of at least $100 million, but it’s still a big personal stake.
All that money has kept Oz spending at a breakneck pace during the winter months. Kantar/CMAG analysis showed that the Oz campaign has been the campaign’s second-largest advertiser to date, spending an estimated $9 million on TV alone.
The single biggest spender during this time was Honor Pennsylvania, a McCormick-supporting SuperPAC. He spent an estimated $9.7 million on a variety of attack ads trying to portray Oz as a “Hollywood liberal”.
McCormick’s campaign was third, spending $9.56 million in total during the first quarter, including about $7.5 million on television. McCormick, the former Army officer and entrepreneur who returned to his home state to join the Senate, has also been betting big on himself, with personal loans to his campaign totaling more than $6.9 million. dollars.
In total, Oz, McCormick, and the various independent committees that support (or attack) them accounted for about 80% of early TV spending in Pennsylvania, according to Kantar/CMAG data.
Fetterman looms large.
However, the race’s most prodigious fundraiser in either party remains Fetterman.
The Democratic frontrunner raised $3.1 million in the first quarter of the year, setting him up well for the kind of paid media campaign he wants in the final month of the primary race.
Fetterman had nearly $4.2 million in cash as of April 1, he’s sitting on big leads in the opinion polls and he’s keeping the pedal to the metal. The Lieutenant Governor posted a Tweet on Friday morning telling followers that her campaign is about to ramp up and that she can use all the financial help she is receiving.
Fetterman’s campaign has topped $15 million for the election cycle to date.
Lamb, his main rival in the Democratic primary race, raised $1.753 million for the round and had $2.217 million in the bank over the past six weeks. Some of Lamb’s money is for the general election campaign, but he will also be backed by a SuperPAC, Penn Progress, which supports Lamb and has brought in about $800,000 in cash.
The net effect is that Lamb should have enough to get an important statewide message across in the last six weeks, but he could still be overtaken by the Fetterman campaign by something approaching a margin of 2. -1 in the coming weeks.
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Philadelphia, is a distant third in the Democratic money race, with just $271,000 in cash.
Try to make noise.
Of the other Republican Senate candidates, Jeff Bartos’ campaign appears to be the best resourced for the final push.
The Montgomery County real estate developer and 2018 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor appears to have tried to manage his resources over the winter months, spending just $248,000 in the reporting period. That hasn’t helped him in the polls, where he’s usually in fourth or fifth place.
But Bartos has $2.35 million in cash for the home stretch.
Conservative commentator Kathy Barnette of Delaware County raised $356,464 for the quarter and spent $645,598. But with his bankroll reported at $260,941, Barnette must be hoping that strong performances in the all-candidates debates in the coming weeks will inspire a belated wave of contributions that will keep his campaign competitive in the air wars.
The other top Republican candidate, former US ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands, has remained competitive in the race for funds largely through self-funding: her latest FEC filing shows the committee’s cash level Sands for the Senate at $603,000. With outside contributions of just $103,000 for the quarter, the strength of his final media push seems to hinge on whether he wants to further increase his personal wealth.
First quarter filings for Republican candidates George Bochetto and Sean Gale, and Democrat Alexandria Khalil were not immediately available on the FEC website.