October 1, 2022

CASH CRUNCH: Republican campaign ads in crucial Senate battleground states canceled

CASH CRUNCH: Republican campaign ads in crucial Senate battleground states canceled

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With revenue from online donation appeals falling by double digits, the Republican fundraising arm for Senate candidates has canceled close to $10 million in ad buys in three key battleground states, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Arizona – where media reservations will be cut in some of the state’s largest cities.

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The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) communications director, Chris Hartline, insists the campaign committee is still committed to races seen as crucial to determining which political party controls the Senate in 2023. Hartline released a statement saying, “Nothing has changed about our commitment to winning in all of our target states.”

In Pennsylvania, where the Trump-backed former television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz faces an uphill battle against popular Lt. Gov. and Pennsylvania native son John Fetterman, more than $5 million has been cut from the ad budget – including in the Philadelphia media market, The New York Times reported.

Oz, who holds dual citizenship with the United States and his home country of Turkey, has drawn criticism for being a New Jersey resident with no actual roots in — or knowledge of — Pennsylvania. His opponent, Fetterman, has officially hit the campaign trail again after suffering a minor stroke three months ago – which will only make the race more difficult for the inexperienced physician.

Wisconsin’s GOP Senator Ron Johnson will face off against current Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in a race that has some polls showing Barnes leading the Republican incumbent. Johnson can’t be happy that the Madison and Green Bay media markets will see more than $2 million worth of ads canceled.

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All reservations in the Arizona market have been cut in the state’s two largest cities, Phoenix and Tucson. As Blake Masters – assistant to billionaire GOP donor Peter Thiel — seeks to unseat his Democratic opponent, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelley, he’ll have to do it without the help of the NRSC after September 30th.

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Hartline pushed back on The New York Times article, calling it “false” on Twitter, and claiming money is just being “moved around,” and spent in the early moments of the campaigns:

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“Been spending earlier than ever before to help our candidates get their message out and define the Democrats for their radical agenda. We’ve been creative in how we’re spending our money and will continue to make sure that every dollar spent by the N.R.S.C. is done in the most efficient and effective way possible.”

According to an analysis of records from WinRed, the main online donation processing portal for Republicans, small-dollar donations were down 12% in the second quarter of 2022.  During the same period, however, their Democratic counterpart ActBlue saw a 21% surge in small donor contributions – widening the margin between the parties by nearly $100 million

As Trump continues to dominate – and hoard – fundraising dollars from GOP and MAGA supporters, it appears that Republicans may be forced to increasingly count on Super PACs to save their midterm hopes.

As long as Donald Trump needs money for his legal defense, however — and sees an available grift — their finances will continue to suffer.

Original reporting by Shane Goldmacher at The New York Times

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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