Political groups not affiliated with any candidate have already spent more then $3.2 million on the special election for Florida’s 13th District, Real-Time FEC shows, and the ad wars are only beginning. The district has become the host of ad wars for groups outside of the Sunshine State with national political ambitions. Thus far, the outside money has favored David Jolly, R, a former staffer for the late Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young who went on to become a lobbyist.
At the time of publication, outside spenders have plunked down more than $2.3 million on independent expenditures either supporting Jolly or opposing his Democratic challenger, Alex Sink. Sink, the former chief financial officer of Florida and, before that, a Bank of America executive, has seen the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, spend some $886,041 attacking Jolly, while the liberal House Majority PAC has pledged it will pour $650,000 into the race. The latter group’s first TV ad in the race aired Tuesday, Roll Call reports, blasting Jolly for “lobbying for a special interest that wants to privatize social security” — a cogent issue for a district where around 22 percent of the population is over 65.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has already spent more than $1.2 million on the race for direct mail, surveys and TV ads. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $800,000 on TV ads knocking Sink for her support of Obamacare while “action tank” American Action Network has attacked her record in Florida.
Update 02/12 2:10 p.m. The most recent report from the NRCC shows the group has just spent an additional $360,000 on the race — paying three Washington-area campaign consulting firms for “Media” services targeting Alex Sink.
According to a Jan. 30 report by the Associated Press, each campaign can expect another million dollars spent in its favor. The Associated Press reported that both American Crossroads ($500,000) and YG Network ($200,000) each plan to add late cash infusions to the race, while American Action Network has thus far spent $250,000 of a planned half million. In Sink’s corner, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reportedly plans to spend an additional million dollars.
Spending by outside groups has helped to level the financial field for Jolly, who ended the year with less money in the bank than his opponent. As Sunlight reported in January, Sink’s campaign ended the year with more than $1.1 million in receipts, while Friends of David Jolly had raised around $400,000. Both camps have been spending that money on ads. Political ad sleuth’s market report for Tampa Bay shows just how frenzied the Pinellas county airwaves have become. Voters have another few weeks to be smothered by political ads, polls open March 11.