When you're seeing three Senate campaign ads every five minutes, you might guess there's a fair bit of money going into the race—and you'd be right. The race between North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis could be the priciest Senate campaign ever, the Charlotte Observer reports. So far, the race is set to cost more than $103 million; $22 million of that comes from groups whose sources are undisclosed. One result of all that cash: 80,000 television ads up through last week. The money involved "tells you two things," says a political scientist. "That campaign finance is completely out of anybody's control and North Carolina is a premier swing state." And as a political activist sees it, "the most affluent donors are calling the shots," which means voters are "feeling even less relevant than they otherwise would."
A quick look at the cash involved, per the Observer:
- Hagan's campaign had raised $21.6 million through last month, while Tillis' campaign had raised $8.2 million.
- On Tillis' side, outside groups are spending $42.8 million, almost half of which is "dark money" coming from undisclosed donors. The National Republican Senatorial Committee accounts for more than $10 million, while groups backed by the Koch brothers and Karl Rove are spending some $16.5 million.
- As for Hagan, outside groups have provided $35 million, with the biggest chunk coming from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with at least $17 million. About $2.3 million is "dark money."
- So what's all this money getting them? Hagan currently maintains a slight lead in polls, with 44.8% of the vote to Tillis' 43.4%, according to Real Clear Politics.
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