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The most expensive election season in American history is not yet over. With two second-round elections in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate, many more millions of dollars will be spent on television commercials before polling stations in the state close on Jan.5.
In fact, $ 97.5 million more, as of now. And that’s a number that is likely to increase.
The two biggest spenders are Republican incumbents Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Mr Perdue has about $ 19 million in ad bookings over the next two months, while Ms Loeffler tumbled $ 31 million.
Ad spending points to a late infusion of money for Mr Perdue, who was just under the 50% of the vote he needed on election day to avoid a run-off. His campaign had about $ 8.2 million in cash at the end of September, according to federal campaign fundraising records, and he had raised just $ 5.6 million in the previous three months.
Ms Loeffler, who is independently wealthy, had donated around $ 20 million of her own money to her campaign before her top two spots this month in the crowded special election for her seat.
The Democratic challengers are, for the moment, largely spent on air. Jon Ossoff, who challenges Mr Perdue, has set aside around $ 12 million in advertising, while Reverend Raphael Warnock, who races against Ms Loeffler, has spent around $ 20 million on ads.
Added to the Republican advantage are a host of Republican super PACs and outside groups that have already invested millions in Georgia. The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to Senator Mitch McConnell, spent approximately $ 2.5 million on each of the races. And American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove and led by a former McConnell aide, has poured $ 4.7 million into the effort to support Ms Loeffler.
National Democrats, meanwhile, began funneling funds into second-round races as soon as it became clear that Senate control was on the line.
Needless to say, the countryside is about to get messy in Georgia. Or, maybe more to the point, keep it messy.
Mr. Warnock caught a glimpse of it when he posted an ad of a satirical attack on himself, with a narrator implying that Mr. Warnock “eats pizza with a fork” and “hates puppies.”
“Get ready, Georgia,” Mr. Warnock said in the announcement. “Negative ads are coming.”
He was right, of course. Ms. Loeffler and American Crossroads ran negative ads exclusively during the second-round campaign, according to Advertising Analytics. And three-quarters of Mr. Warnock’s ads were negative.
There’s also not a lot of positivity on the airwaves in Mr. Perdue’s race for the seat. The Perdue campaign and the Senate Leadership Fund are running an all-out negative publicity campaign. And while Mr. Ossoff’s ads are largely positive, two outside Democratic groups – the Senate PAC majority and the Democratic Senate campaign committee – only run negative ads.
As of Tuesday, there were 14 different campaign announcements already aired in Georgia, ranging from attacks on candidate files to attempts to tie their political fortunes to the presidential race.
Mr Ossoff, in a new ad released Tuesday, pledged to “work with Joe Biden to empower medical experts” in the fight against the coronavirus and called Mr Perdue a obstructionist, saying “he will do anything. what’s in his power to make sure Joe Biden fails, just like he tried to do with President Obama.
On the Republican side, specific lines of attack vary, but both incumbents have used the phrase “Save the Senate” in their advertisements.
Georgian voters are already quite familiar with the four candidates: more than $ 206 million was spent on ads in the two races combined up to election day, the third most spent on Senate ads in a state in this cycle behind the North Carolina and Iowa.
Familiarity, however, won’t stop another advertising war. Ads will continue to flood the state, even during Falcons games, whether or not people are still watching.
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Announcement of the week: Enjoying Biden’s celebrations
The spontaneous celebrations in the streets of New York after the victory of President-elect Joe Biden are now part of an announcement of Mr Perdue’s attack in Georgia.
The message: It was a moment that political agents quickly saw as likely to turn it into a campaign advertisement. Senator Chuck Schumer, the leader of the Democratic minority, made a statement amid the swell of supporters celebrating projections that Mr Biden had won the presidential election: “Now we take Georgia, then we change it ‘America!”
A few days later, the clip was released in Georgia, targeting Mr. Ossoff. The ad focuses on the word ‘change’ as a disturbing idea, accusing Democrats of seeking to dissolve the police and give undocumented immigrants the right to vote, although these are not policies endorsed by Mr Ossoff , Mr. Schumer, President Nancy Pelosi or Mr. Biden.
Takeaway meals: Senate races in battlefield states often argue that “Senate control is at stake.” This is rarely as true as in Georgia, and Mr. Perdue’s effort to present himself as the one who will “stop” these changes will likely be a central part of his second-round campaign, especially if President Trump ever accepts the fact. that he lost the election.
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