More than $8M in outside cash has been spent in congressional Primaries since qualifying


Outside political committees have spent more than $8 million in independent campaigning in Florida’s U.S. Senate and congressional elections since qualifying day in June.

The spending includes more than $1.7 million spent by two groups to support Republican state Sen. Aaron Bean’s bid in Florida’s 4th Congressional District, and more than $1 million spent mainly by one group to support Democratic organizer Maxwell Alejandro Frost in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.

Since ballot qualifying day on June 17, outside groups have spent $283,000 attacking Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings in the U.S. Senate contest while others have spent $100,000 supporting re-election of Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Very little outside money has come to the defense of Demings, at least through the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, which run though last Friday.

Between $100,000 and $1 million has been spent to support or oppose seven other candidates in five other congressional contests in Florida.

That campaign advertising is above and beyond what each candidate has spent through their official campaigns. Federal law prohibits coordination between campaigns and outside groups, so the outside spending theoretically comes as a surprise bonus to whatever the campaigns strategize to do.

Among the significant independent spending so far:

— In the U.S. Senate race, Florida First Project has spent $283,000 this summer on ads opposing Demings. The National Victory Action Fund has spent $100,000 on online advertising and email supporting Rubio.

The only support Demings has received thus far is about $53,000 worth of text messaging and online ads placed by Let America Vote Political Action Committee in support of her, and about $3,000 in online ads and text messaging from End Citizens United attacking Rubio.

— In Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, Americans for Prosperity has spent $206,000 on mailers, canvassing and digital ads supporting re-election of Republican U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack.

— In CD 4, the Keep Florida Red PAC has spent $914,000 on mailers and other ads supporting Bean. American Dream Federal Action PAC has spent $824,000 on TV, mailers and digital advertising supporting Bean.

— In CD 7, four groups have each spent tens of thousands of dollars on direct mail and digital advertising to support Republican state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, while another group has spent $105,000 on mailers opposing him. The pro-Sabatini spending has come from Protect Freedom PAC, $69,000; FreedomWorks for America, $60,000; American Principles Project PAC, $53,000; and Advance Liberty PAC, $41,000.

American Liberty Action PAC has spent $105,000 attacking Sabatini. There is no clear indication if that PAC is aligned with any of the seven other Republicans running in CD 7.

— In CD 10, Protect Our Future PAC has spent $913,000 on TV and digital advertising supporting Frost, while the CHC Bold PAC has spent $65,000 on digital ads. The Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC has spent $33,000 on mailers supporting Frost.

— In CD 13, two Republican candidates, Anna Paulina Luna and Kevin Hayslett, have both attracted both support and attack advertising from outside groups.

Club for Growth Action has spent $512,000 on TV, radio, digital and mail ads supporting Luna. The Right Women PAC has spent $50,000 on digital ads supporting Luna. The House Freedom Fund spent $21,000 on email and mail ads supporting Luna.

Club for Growth Action also spent $750,000 on TV, radio, digital and mail ads attacking Haslett.

Stand for Florida spent $552,000 on various media supporting Haslett.

Stand for Florida also spent $35,000 on mailers and text messages attacking Luna, and Florida First Values PAC spent $24,800 on mailers attacking her.

— In Florida’s 15th Congressional District, Republican former Secretary of State Laurel Lee and Republican state Sen. Kelli Stargel have each received more than a half million dollars in support from outside groups. Stargel and Republican state Rep. Jackie Toledo have been attacked by outside groups.

Lee has benefited from $621,000 worth of TV, mail and digital advertising placed by Conservative Action Fund, and another $262,000 in TV, mailer and digital advertising and canvassing support from the Americans for Prosperity Action fund.

Stargel’s candidacy has been boosted by $689,000 in media placements, direct mail and digital advertising from Conservative Warriors PAC.

Conservative Action Fund also has spent $36,000 on mailers attacking Stargel.

Toledo has drawn just $13,000 in outside support, text messaging from Engineering America’s Future.

Conservative Warriors PAC has spent $34,000 on mailers attacking Toledo.

Between $50,000 and $100,000 of outside money has come in supporting Republican U.S. Rep. John Rutherford’s re-election bid in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, Republican Brady Duke in Florida’s 7th Congressional District and Republican Laura Loomer in Florida’s 11th Congressional District.

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