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Spending in Wisconsin spikes before debate

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As Rep. Tammy Baldwin and former Gov. Tommy Thompson prepare for the first of three debates tonight in a race that will help determine control of the Senate, their campaigns and outside groups are bombarding Wisconsin with advertising to sway the hearts and minds of undecided voters. 

An analysis of expenditures and political ad buys shows an increase in expenditures by campaigns and outside groups heading into the last month of the long, politically charged year. Since April, Wisconsin has garnered national attention from its Republican presidential primary, another primary to determine who would run against Gov. Scott Walker in ...

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In Wisconsin Senate primary, outside groups backing Neumann fall short

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In the month leading up to the Wisconson primary, outside spending groups poured more than $3.8 million into the state, much of it aimed at boosting former Rep. Mark Neumann's unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination. But while Neumann's numbers fizzled last night, there are signs that point to even more spending as the November election approaches. 

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, who won the nomination with 34 percent in the four-way race, was an early favorite and held the lead throughout the primary, according to some polls. But as outside spending accelerated, poll numbers changed rapidly, with ...

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Why four Dems opposed extending background checks

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Back in February, we at Sunlight made some predictions about the Democrats who would be most likely to defect on a gun vote, based on three factors: being up for a vote in 2014, having a high number of gun businesses in the state, and having a low Obama vote share. Here's what we wrote at the time about four Democrats we predicted would be most likely to oppose gun reform.

  • Max Baucus: Montana has 120 gun businesses per 100,000 people, highest in the country (according to ATF statistics). Only 41.8% of Montana voters supported Obama in 2012. (Tester, who just won re-election faces similar pressures)
  • Mark Begich: Alaska has 104 gun businesses per 100,000 people. Only 41.3% of Alaskans voted for Obama in 2012.
  • Tim Johnson: South Dakota has 66 gun businesses per 100,000 people. Only 39.9% of South Dakotans supported Obama in 2012.
  • Mark Pryor: Arkansas has 45 gun businesses per 100,00 people. Only 36.9% of Arkansans voted for Obama in 2012.

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Senate scorecard: Who won, and whom they owe

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Democrats Tammy Baldwin and Jon Tester were among this week's Senate winners

As with the presidential race, conservative outside groups who dropped the most money on heated Senate contests didn't get a great return on their investments. But that doesn't mean the new or returning senators that emerged victorious weren't also backed by big money. These groups, dominated by labor, will be asking for something in return for their support.

Virginia: Sen.-elect Tim Kaine

This race drew the attention of the biggest players in the outside spending game, who dropped more than $50 million in ...

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More than two-thirds of outside spending backed losing candidates

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Republican-leaning outside groups got trounced in Tuesday's election results, with the biggest spenders getting little return for their investment. Labor unions had a much better track record, with some directing 75 percent of their money--or more--to winning causes.

Overall, of the 1.07 billion spent on the general elections by some 629 outside groups, just 32 percent yielded the desired results, an analysis based on the results and independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Committees shows. We looked at candidates that groups supported and opposed to determine their desired candidates in specific races, and calculated what percentage ...

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Two Midwestern states targets of gun violence and the NRA

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Two states struggling with gun violence this fall, Wisconsin and Michigan, also have been targeted for campaign expenditures by the National Rifle Association.pistol and target

The big gun rights group appears to have its biggest political footprint in Wisconsin, where a gunman on Sunday shot seven women -- three fatally -- before killing himself in state's second mass shooting this year. Of the $5.9 millon the NRA Political Victory Fund, has spent so far to defeat President Barack Obama, at least some has gone to Wisconsin. While the Federal Election Commission does not require independent expenditure groups to identify ...

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Republican groups swamping Democrats in outside spending

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As the campaign heads into its final weeks, Republican outside interest groups are outspending their Democratic counterparts two-to-one, Federal Election Commission reports tracked this week by Sunlight's Follow the Unlimited Money show. pile of cash

As Sunlight reported last week, outside spending has accelerated since Sept. 7, when federal law requires that all outside groups making political expenditures disclose them to the FEC.  Expenditures hit $102 million between Oct. 5 and Oct 11, with House races getting the most attention from the outside spenders, and GOP candidates only having a slight advantage. 

But so far this week, Republican groups have outmatched Democratic ...

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Media spending tops $100 million in 10 key Senate races

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Voters in 10 states with competitive Senate races have been inundated with more than $106 million in campaign propaganda, an analysis of independent expenditure reports and campaign expenditure records from the Federal Election Commission shows.

The total represents a combination of ad spending by outside groups and candidates' combined, and is likely a considerable understatement as candidate campaign committees' third-quarter filings have yet to be made public by the FEC.

But the spending we know about so far underscores the stakes involved as the two parties battle for control of the Senate, where Democrats currently hold a six-vote edge. Of ...

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Final look at outside spenders’ 2012 return on investment

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The controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of Tea Party groups has put a spotlight on the non-profit groups that played such a prominent role in the 2012 campaign. The groups have become popular conduits for political funds because, unlike political action committees, they do not have to disclose donors to the Federal Election Commission. While most of the groups whose applications the IRS slow-walked were relatively small givers, many groups that did land non-profit status gave big. Check out this page to see the "social welfare" non-profits who made political expenditures in the 2012 election cycle. Because of the interest, the Sunlight Foundation has decided to update the Return on Investment feature we first published the day after the election. This analysis looks at more than 100,000 lines of itemized expenditures made by outside spending groups (super PACS as well as 501(c) non profits) and calculates the amount of money that went toward the desired result on Election Day. Our update accounts for updated filings and amendments at the Federal Election Commission and our own data cleanup. For more details on each group listed below click on the “see ROI breakdown” button. You can sort by general election spending, candidate, support or oppose, and election result.

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CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) Today 59063

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