Pennsylvania voters won’t choose their Senate nominees for more than a month but already almost $80 million has been spent on television by candidates and their aligned super PACs in the race.
That total makes Pennsylvania the most expensive Senate race in the country, leading Arizona ($64 million) and Georgia ($62 million) in total ad spending to date. (Shout out to CNN’s David Wright for compiling these numbers.)
The spending in the Pennsylvania open seat – Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring – is being driven by the nasty fight in the GOP primary between television doctor Mehmet Oz and hedge fund manager David McCormick.
Oz has already spent $11.5 million on ads in the race while McCormick trails not far behind at $10.1 million. (Both candidates are spending heavily from their own personal wealth.) A super PAC affiliated with McCormick – Honor Pennsylvania – has dumped $10.4 million on ads, the vast majority of which attack Oz.
Of course, Oz got something more valuable than money over the weekend when former President Donald Trump endorsed his candidacy.
“The Great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has a tremendous opportunity to Save America by electing the brilliant and well-known Dr. Mehmet Oz for the United States Senate,” Trump said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, even if only through his very successful television show. He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected and smart.”
Democrats are holding their own, lower profile (and less expensive) primary with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman considered the favorite. Pennsylvania voters will make their picks on May 17.
The Pennsylvania Senate race – no matter who wins the two parties’ nods – seems destined to be among the most expensive ever.
That title currently belongs to the 2020 race between then Sen. David Perdue and Jon Ossoff that carried a price tag of upwards of $260 million. (Ossoff won narrowly.)
It’s not clear whether Pennsylvania will ever get that expensive but it’s off to a pretty remarkable start.
The Point: The cost of Senate races these days is more than what many candidates would raise and spend to run for president just a decade ago. And there’s no sign the price tag is going anything but up.