And you thought candidates were the biggest factor in their races. No, this year, battle for control of the Senate is largely being determined by big-spending super PACs and nonprofits.
The days of candidates dominating their own political campaigns are over.
In the most competitive U.S. Senate races this year, big-money special interests that proliferated after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision are routinely out-muscling and out-messaging the candidates themselves.
This power shift is most prominent on television, where super PACs and politically active nonprofits—both may accept unlimited contributions—routinely account for nearly one out of every two ads run in a U.S. Senate race.
Most of the ads are decidedly negative, and they’ve collectively cost hundreds of millions of dollars with Election Day still 10 days away.
Wealthy liberals and conservatives alike are complicit, pumping money into these groups that, by law, may not operate “in concert or cooperation with” the candidates or parties they seek to boost.