The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is underway in states across the country from North Dakota to Connecticut. And fundraising this cycle has been fierce, but unlike years past, Democrats are keeping pace.
In the 11 toss-up Senate races, which will determine the majority, Democratic candidates actually out-raised Republicans by $45 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. That said, they were still worried about outside spending.
In 2010, Republican Super PACs dominated the airwaves in the final hours of the campaign cycle. This year, Democrats kept in sight of Republicans in the arena of outside spending, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
"Congress is the one area in terms of outside spending where the Democrats have managed to stay close to Republicans," says Kathy Kiely, managing editor at the Sunlight Foundation. In the final week of the campaign, Kiely says Republican outside groups poured $33.8 million into Senate races, while Democrats doled out $23.7 million. And in the final days of the campaigns, outside GOP groups spent $6.9 million while Democrats spent $4,9 million.
Kiely says this year Republican Super PAC power was used to make up for funding disadvantages between the candidates.
In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine outraised Republican George Allen by nearly $5 million through his campaign committee. And outside money is making up the difference for Allen. Nearly $30 million has been spent on Allen's behalf whereas only 21 million has been doled out for Kaine.
"These are big donors who are checking where they are going to get the biggest return on their investment," Kiely says. "They are not supposed to coordinate, but they are certainly helping candidates win or doing the best to help the candidates lose in races where there is a funding disadvantage."
Here is a list of the top 9 Senate races penetrated by outside spending this cycle.
Virginia - $50.5 million in outside spending
Wisconsin - $42.3 million in outside spending
Ohio - $35.4 million in outside spending
Indiana - $29.9 million in outside spending
Nevada - $27.8 million in outside spending
Montana - $24.7 million in outside spending
Florida - $21.3 million in outside spending
Arizona - $21.2 million in outside spending
North Dakota - $15.8 million in outside spending
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Lauren Fox is a political reporter for U.S. News and World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.