The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's early gift to three coal state candidates is a lot more than, well, a lump of coal.
The Chamber spent an astounding $750,000 in the past week alone on TV and web ad buys for Republican candidates in four different races, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. ($200,000) and Senate hopeful Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.V., ($200,000) who is looking to replace outgoing 'blue dog' Dem Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
The spending spree also includes $200,000 for Democrat-turned-Republican Evan Jenkins, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Nick Rahall in West Virginia's 3rd District, and $150,000 in support of Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.
Though the Associated Press and Roll Call have reported on the political juggernaut's recent ads of independent expenditures, the total sum was not known until today.
Though early December is hardly a hot time for political advertisements, the Chamber has been eager to establish itself as the foil to far right outside spending groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth. In an effort to steer the party in a more conservative direction, SCF has thrown its support behind McConnell primary challenger Matt Bevin, while Club for Growth has backed the primary opponent of Simpson, another U.S. Chamber supportee. The outside spending battle for the direction of the GOP kicked off in earnest after the Tea Party-led government shutdown, which irked some business leaders.
The six-figure ad buys may just be a taste of what's to come for the Chamber, which spent more than $35 million in outside political spending in 2012. In a statement to Bloomberg, the Chamber's Rod Engstrom said that the group was looking to "send a message" to the Tea Party in upcoming elections. See the business group's recent ad for West Virginia Republican Evan Jenkins below: