Democrats Step Up Campaign Spending as 2010 Elections Near

Allied outside groups also make final push to Election Day.

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6. Crossroads GPS ($3,576,916)

Crossroads GPS increased its weekly spending by $1.1 million, even as it tightened its focus from four to three races, with all of its $3.6 million in independent expenditures going toward TV ads opposing Democratic Senate candidates. Crossroads spent $1.2 million last week against Washington's Murray, $1.2 million on Illinois Democratic candidate Alexander Giannoulias, and $1.1 million against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. 

7. America's Families First Action Fund ($3,566,715) 

Much news coverage this election season has focused on so-called "super PACs," committees that file with the Federal Election Commission as "independent expenditure-only" committees. Though Republican super PACs have by far received more attention (and spent more) than Democratic-aligned groups, America's Families First Action Fund entered the top 10 last week with a flurry of activity including TV, radio, and direct mail campaigns against 14 Republican House candidates. Chief among these was Florida Republican House candidate Steve Southerland, who is running for the seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd. America's Families First spent $432,000 on TV and direct mail campaigns against Southerland.

8. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees PEOPLE ($2,100,236)

The Colorado and Pennsylvania Senate contests are the two races in which this American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees PAC spent the bulk of its money, in opposition to Republican candidates Buck and Toomey, respectively. But in addition to those two Senate contests, The public service employee union also spent against three Rust-Belt Republican House candidates: Pennsylvania's Mike Kelly ($399,000), who is challenging Rep. Kathleen Dahlkemper; Ohio's Jim Renacci ($343,000), who is up against Rep. John Boccieri; and Michigan's Tim Walburg ($238,000), who will take on Rep. Mark Schauer on Election Day.

[See photos from the campaign trail.]

9. Commonsense Ten ($1,846,030)

Along with America's Families First (No. 7, above), the Commonsense Ten is another of the most prominent Democrat-supporting super PACs this cycle. Last week, it spent in five Senate races around the country and one House race. The most prominent target was Rossi, in Washington, against whom Commonsense Ten spent $1.2 million. In addition to spending on battleground Senate contests, the group also spent $176,000 opposing Republican Benjamin Lange, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in Iowa's First Congressional District.

10. National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund ($1,361,660) 

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund spread its $1.4 million widely last week, in 75 House and Senate races around the country. Though most of the expenditures went toward mailings in these states and districts, the group also purchased radio and TV ads in several contests. Though gun rights is a cause often associated with Republicans, the NRA PAC supported several Democrats last week as well, including Oklahoma Rep. Dan Boren and California Rep. Dennis Cardoza. Still, like many other organizations on this list, the National Rifle Association's top targeted races were the Senate contest in Pennsylvania, where the group spent $2.9 against Democrat Sestak, and the Senate race in Colorado, where the fund allocated $2.2 million toward supporting Republican Buck.

Data covers the latest available electronically filed reports of expenditures made from October 17 through 23. As the Democratic and Republican senatorial committees may file their expenditure reports on paper, rather than electronically, the data on their expenditures may be incomplete.

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