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Mitch McConnell-backed GOP super PAC cancels nearly $10M in ad buys in Arizona, Alaska ahead of midterms

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A prominent Republican super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is canceling nearly $10 million in advertisement spending in Arizona and Alaska.

The Senate Leadership Fund is cutting about $8 million in ads from the Arizona Senate race in which GOP candidate Blake Masters is hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly. The ads were supposed to begin after Labor Day, but will now kick off in early October.

Republicans only need a net gain of one Senate seat to flip the upper chamber. In addition to Arizona, November’s elections will feature some other crucial Senate races, including in Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 

But Republicans are trailing in the polls to Democrats in some key battleground states, including Masters in Arizona.

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A prominent Republican super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky., is canceling nearly $10 million in advertisement spending in Arizona and Alaska.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The super PAC’s move to cancel advertising is, in part, due to its $28 million investment in Ohio. GOP candidate J.D. Vance and Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio, are facing off in the state’s Senate race.

“We’re leaving the door wide open in Arizona, but we want to move additional resources to other offensive opportunities that have become increasingly competitive, as well as an unexpected expense in Ohio,” Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law told Politico. “We think the fundamentals of this election strongly favor Republicans, we see multiple paths to winning the majority, and we are going to invest heavily and strategically to achieve that goal.”

Still, the group is not planning to completely pull out of Arizona. The super PAC initially invested about $14.4 million into the Arizona Senate race.

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The Senate Leadership Fund is cutting about $8 million in ads from the Arizona Senate race in which GOP candidate Blake Masters, right, is hoping to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly, left. The ads were supposed to begin after Labor Day, but will now kick off in early October.

The super PAC’s cut in Arizona spending will likely give Kelly a significant advantage this fall regarding funds. The incumbent senator and Democratic groups have more than $40 million reserved for the fall, compared to Republicans’ $18 million before the super PAC pulled ad investments, according to AdImpact.

The McConnell-backed organization also cut two weeks, or about $1.7 million, in advertising in Alaska in a move Law said was a show of confidence for incumbent Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

“We are all-in for Senator Murkowski. Senator Murkowski is in a very strong position and based on that decided to push back our start date,” Law said. 

Ads supporting Murkowski’s election campaign will now start Sept. 20.

The McConnell-backed organization also cut two weeks, or about $1.7 million, in advertising in Alaska in a move Law said was a show of confidence for incumbent Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The McConnell-backed organization also cut two weeks, or about $1.7 million, in advertising in Alaska in a move Law said was a show of confidence for incumbent Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Murkowski advanced to the top-four general election with about 45% of the GOP primary vote, ahead of Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka’s 39%. The general election will be determined by ranked-choice voting.

The super PAC said its cuts in Arizona and Alaska do not mean the group is in financial trouble, telling Politico it is “currently several million ahead of where we were for the month of August at this point in 2020.”

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