Ad spending in Georgia Senate runoffs tops a quarter of a billion dollars

Total ad spending could reach half a billion dollars by Election Day on Jan. 5

With control of the U.S. Senate on the line in Georgia’s runoff elections, the campaigns and outside groups are dishing out huge sums of money on ads in the twin showdowns.

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In the four weeks since Election Day, the campaigns of the four candidates, the national political parties, and outside groups such as super PACs have already shelled out more than $280 million to reserve time to run TV commercials in the Jan. 5 elections, according to AdImpact, a top national ad tracking firm formerly known as Advertising Analytics.

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“We are already seeing $41 million in total ad placement for the week of 12/1, bringing total ad expenditures for GA runoffs combined to over $280 million,” AdImpact vice president John Link told FOX Business on Monday.

With five full weeks until the Jan. 5 elections, AdImpact says total ad spending in the two Senate face-offs could reach half a billion dollars.

“At current pace, $500 million would be top end, but achievable,” Link said. “Given the overall importance and national attention these races are receiving, it would not surprise me. Right now our call is $450-500 million combined between both races. “

Among the biggest spenders so far are the campaigns of the four candidates.

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Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock has spent $48 million on ads, with appointed Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler dishing out $43 million. In the other race, Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff’s shelled out more than $45 million to run ads, with GOP Sen. David Perdue spending more than $31 million.

Georgia Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Raphael Warnock, left, and Jon Ossoff, right, gesture toward a crowd during a campaign rally on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Marietta, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Associated Press)

Also spending big bucks are some of the leading outside groups in the battle for the Senate. The pro-Republican Senate Leadership Fund and its allied group American Crossroads have combined spent an eye-popping $83 million to run ads backing Loeffler and Perdue. The pro-Democratic Senate Majority Fund has spent a more modest $10 million so far to run commercials supporting Ossoff and Warnock.

The current balance of power for the next Senate – coming out of this month’s elections – is 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. That means the Democrats must win both of Georgia’s runoff elections to make it a 50-50 Senate, in which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote, giving her party a razor-thin majority in the chamber. Otherwise, the GOP retains control of the chamber and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky remains as Senate Majority Leader.

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate Sen. Kelly Loeffler, left, and Sen. David Perdue wait to speak at a campaign rally on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Cumming, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Associated Press)

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In Georgia, where state law dictates a runoff if no candidate reaches 50% of the vote, Perdue narrowly missed avoiding a runoff, winning 49.75% in the vote count. Ossoff, trailed by roughly 87,000 votes.

In the other race, Loeffler captured nearly 26% of the vote in a whopping 20-candidate special election to fill the final two years of the term of former GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson. Warnock won nearly 33% of the vote.

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