"Russia invaded Crimea under Obama. They invaded Ukraine under Biden. You know what Russia didn’t do when Trump was president? Invade anywhere," McCormick emphasizes in the spot.
And McCormick - a former hedge fund executive, a West Point graduate, Gulf War combat veteran and Treasury Department official in former President George W. Bush's administration – charges in his ad that "Joe Biden’s weakness was an invitation for invasion because tyrants like Putin only respect one thing – strength."
McCormick’s top GOP primary rival in the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in the crucial battleground state is Mehmet Oz, the cardiac surgeon, author and well-known celebrity physician who until the launch of his Senate campaign late last year was host of TV’s popular "Dr. Oz Show."
Oz takes aim at McCormick in his latest commercial running on Pennsylvania airwaves.
"David McCormick fired Pennsylvanians and bragged about shipping their jobs to Asia," the narrator charges in the Oz ad. "Wall Street insiders who go to Washington and sell us out."
Oz and McCormick are the two biggest spenders in what’s currently the most expensive Senate race across the nation in this November’s midterm elections.
As of Wednesday afternoon, nearly $50 million has been spent by the candidates and their campaigns as well as outside groups, such as super PACs, to run ads in Pennsylvania ahead of the state’s May 17 primary in a key Senate race that may well determine whether the Republicans win back the chamber’s majority.
The figures, provided by the national ad tracking firm AdImpact, indicate that the vast majority of the spending is currently in the GOP Senate primary ($40.2 million) rather than the Democratic primary ($9.7 million).
The crowded and combustible GOP Senate primary includes wealthy self-financiers like Oz, McCormick, Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, philanthropist and 2018 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, and real estate executive and major Republican donor Carla Sands, who served as ambassador to Denmark during former President Trump’s administration. And some of the leading contenders are being supported by well-financed super PACs.
According to AdImpact, Oz is the top spender, shelling out $13.8 million to run ads on TV, radio and online, with McCormick dishing out $10.3 million. Currently in third place in ad spending is Honor Pennsylvania, a pro-McCormick super PAC that’s been targeting Oz in its spots
One of the group’s latest commercials accuses Oz of being "liberal" and a "Republican in Name Only," or "RINO."
In fourth and fifth place in the list of top ad spenders are the top two Democrats in their party’s Senate primary. Rep. Conor Lamb, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania, has shelled out $4.3 million to run spots, with progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman forking over $3.6 million. Spending by the leading Democratic contenders has surged in recent weeks.
It's not as large or populated as giant states like California, Texas, or Florida, but Pennsylvania isn't an inexpensive place to advertise state wide.
You have the fourth or fifth most expensive media market in the country in Philadelphia," longtime Republican consultant John Brabender noted. "The Philly media market is about one out of every three primary voters."
Brabender, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential campaigns and statewide races in Pennsylvania and across the country, also noted that the Keystone State "has a total of seven media markets."
And he highlighted that "Because the current demand, the rates go up. There’s great demand, because there are so many big races in Pennsylvania, therefore the cost goes up. It’s supply and demand. The stations can actually charge a premium this cycle compared to other cycles."
Brabender predicted that "you're going to see the outside super PACs start to increase their engagement… we’re nowhere near election day, so you can just imagine how the spending’s going to increase."
While the Senate race in Pennsylvania tops the list, total ad spending in the open Senate seat race in neighboring Ohio is a close second. In the contest to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman, the latest AdImpact figures indicate nearly $44.5 million has been dished out, with nearly all of it coming in the Republican primary.