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Outside Money in the Senate: One map, four graphs and seven takeaways

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Outside money continues to pour in at a record pace this election cycle, and beyond the presidential race, the biggest general election spending totals are all in Senate races: $29.7 million in Virginia; $24.6 million in Ohio; $22.2 million in Wisconsin; $18.5 million in Nevada; $16.3 million in Montana. And counting. All told, outside groups have dropped $189.4 million into Senate races as of October 23. And no wonder: the Senate remains very much up for grabs, and the parties are very close in their levels of outside spending – unlike both the presidential and House races, where Republicans have the outside spending edge. In the Senate outside money chase, Republicans have a very narrow lead, $97.3 million to $92.1 million. Of particular interest is that Republicans are relying much more on non-party organizations – primarily Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce – that don’t have to disclose their donors and only have to report their spending within 60 days of an election. Among these types of groups, Republicans lead Democrats $56.2 million to $24.6 million. And significantly, while party committees are limited in the amount of money they can raise from any one individual ($30,800 per cycle), groups like Crossroads GPS and the Chamber can receive unlimited contributions. By contrast, Democrats are still relying much more on the traditional party structure. First, an overview of the outside spending, by state:

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