Florida might have only four truly competitive congressional races this fall but outside groups are spending big in them – more than in any other state.
Groups such as the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democrats’ House Majority Fund have poured millions of dollars into Florida’s Congressional Districts 7, 13, 18 and 26 since the Aug. 30 primary and throughTuesday, according to the latest data available from the Federal Election Commission.
Overall such groups have spent $11 million since the primary, almost all on those four districts. Outside groups also spent millions of dollars on primary races before Aug. 30, and for the cycle they’ve spent a total of $17.8 million so far in Florida, through Tuesday. The state with the next highest amount of spending in congressional races including primaries, New York, has seen $12.4 million; in third-highest Nevada it’s $11.3 million, and in fourth-highest Minnesota it’s $9.7 million.
In Florida’s CD 7, featuring Republican, incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica facing Democratic challenger Stephanie Murphy for the Seminole-Orange counties district, it’s all been for Murphy and against Mica. Outside groups have spent $1.1 million so far supporting Murphy and another $441,000 opposing Mica.
In CD 13, with Republican, incumbent, U.S. Rep. David Jolly facing Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in the Pinellas County district Crist is getting almost all the outside help. Groups have spent $1.5 million opposing Jolly and another $62,000 supporting Crist; while others have spent $155,000 opposing Crist.
In CD 18, where Republican Brian Mast and Democrat Randy Perkins are battling over outgoing Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s Treasure Coast district, Mast is the big beneficiary. Groups have spent $3 million opposing Perkins and $463,000 supporting Mast.
And in CD 26, where Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo faces Democrat Joe Garcia, the money is flowing to help both candidates in the Monroe-Miami-Dade counties district. So far, $1.6 million has been spent opposing Garcia and $302,000 supporting Curbelo; while $1.5 million has been spent opposing Curbelo and $681,000 supporting Garcia.
More is likely coming, if the races remain competitive. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, for example, pledged it would spend up to $3 million to support Stephanie Murphy and oppose John Mica, but so far has spent only $535,000 in CD 7.
The NRCC so far is the biggest spender, having dropped $3.3 million, evenly split between CD 18, for Mast; and CD 26, for Curbel0.
The House Majority PAC has spent $2.6 million in Florida this fall, mostly in CD 13 for Crist; with a good chunk going into CD 7, for Stephanie Murphy; and a small amount in CD 26, for Garcia.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also has spent $2.5 million in Florida, with three-quarters of it going into CD 26, to help Garcia; and the rest going to CD 7, for Murphy.
And the Congressional Leadership Fund has spent $1.8 million in Florida so far, all of it in CD 18, to help Mast.
So far $4.8 million has been spent opposing Democrats and $776,000 supporting Republicans; while $3.6 million has been spent opposing Republicans, and $1.8 million supporting Democrats.
Sixteen outside groups have weighed in on Florida’s congressional campaigns this fall ranging from the Immigrant Voters Win PAC to the National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund. But after the four big, partisan, congressional committees, none of the others has spent more than $155,000.