Democrats Top Independent Election Spending

The Republican Senate committee comes in second.

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5. American Crossroads ($3,483,532) 

American Crossroads and affiliated nonprofit Crossroads GPS have been the No. 1 and No. 2 nonparty spenders on independent expenditures, respectively, this campaign season. Last week, American Crossroads spent less money than GPS and spread it more thinly as well, over 11 House and 9 Senate races. The lion's share of the group's spending went toward high-profile Senate races, like those in Colorado, where Buck will face off against Bennet, or Kentucky, where ophthalmologist Rand Paul is taking on Democratic state Attorney General Jack Conway. Among House races, the most expensive was in New York's 22nd District, where Crossroads bought a TV ad attacking Rep. Maurice Hinchey for "backing [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi's failed agenda." Linking lawmakers to Pelosi has been a common tactic in Republican campaign ads this year.

6. Michigan Republican Party ($3,027,896) 

The PAC affiliated with the Michigan Republican Party last week spent on radio and TV ads, mailings, and phone campaigns in four of Michigan's tightest House races. The party dropped over half of its independent expenditures last week--$1.6 million--opposing Democratic Rep. Gary Peters in the Ninth Congressional District. The party also invested $790,000 in the Seventh District House race, widely considered a toss-up, represented by Democrat Mark Schauer, who is battling Republican Tim Walberg, who held the seat from 2007 to 2009. 

7. NEA Advocacy Fund ($1,947,000) 

The National Education Association, which with 3.2 million members is the largest union in the U.S., has budgeted $17 million via its Advocacy Fund to independent expenditures this election season. The group invested $1.9 million last week in advertising opposing Republicans in just three Senate races. One million dollars went toward a radio ad opposing Washington's Dino Rossi, $547,000 bought a TV ad against Colorado's Buck, and $400,000 went toward mailings opposing Kentucky's Paul. 

8. National Republican Congressional Committee ($1,686,074)

Independent expenditure spending by the Republican House committee took a nose dive last week, down to $1.7 million from $10.2 million the week before. That $1.7 million went toward survey research and advertising supporting GOP candidates and opposing Democrats in 35 races. Though the committee's spending has dropped, it still made an impact in at least two tight races last week, spending over $180,000 opposing each Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind and freshman Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello

9. Super PAC for America ($1,256,915) 

Clinton-adviser-turned-Republican-strategist Dick Morris has set an ambitious goal of a GOP gain of 100 House seats on Tuesday. As a way of helping the Republicans reach that goal, Super PAC for America, founded and chaired by Morris, has put in a late push for Republican House candidates nationwide. The PAC began making independent expenditures on October 19 and has disbursed $1.6 million since that time on political communications. Its $1.3 million in independent expenditures last week went toward TV advertisements supporting Republicans and opposing Democrats in 13 House races. Tennessee's Scott Desjarlais received the most support from Super PAC, with $173,000 of advertising in his race against Rep. Lincoln Davis. West Virginia's Elliott Maynard was close behind, garnering $169,000 of support in his contest with Rep. Nick Rahall

10. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees PEOPLE ($1,200,079)

This public service employee union PAC narrowed its focus to three candidates last week, down from five the week before. The union last week made advertising purchases opposing Republicans in one Senate and two House races. The largest portion of the PAC's money, $528,513, went toward advertising against Colorado's Buck. In addition, this AFSCME PAC spent $409,750 opposing Ohio Republican Jim Renacci, who is up against Rep. John Boccieri, and $261,816 against Michigan's Walberg, who will take on Schauer on Election Day.