Twice as many liberal groups have spent at least $100,000 this midterm than at the same point four years ago.
So far, 54 liberal groups have reported at least six figures in outside spending for costs such as buying TV and digital ads, mailing fliers and robocalling. Four years ago, only 28 groups identified as liberal had reached $100,000 in total spending.
The data excludes party committees, such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), which has outspent its Republican counterpart by $30 million so far in support of Democratic House campaigns.
Despite the uptick in liberal outside spending, conservative groups still dominate in both number and total spending.
Eighty conservative groups have spent over $100,000 this cycle for a combined $96.5 million in total spending versus $55.3 million by the 54 liberal groups. But the gap is closing: In 2014, 81 conservative groups had spent over $100,000 versus the 28 liberal groups.
Each of the top five liberal outside groups are super PACs led by the Senate Majority PAC with $22 million in total spending.
Three liberal groups have increased their spending by at least $1 million over their 2014 cycle-to-date totals, all of which are among this year’s top spenders. Six other groups that spent nothing in 2014 have also surpassed $1 million.
Senate Majority PAC spending is up $3.3 million from the last midterms followed by Women Vote! (up $3 million) and VoteVets.org (up $1.8 million).
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, a gun-control advocacy group that spent $387,000 during the last midterm election, has already spent $1.4 million this cycle.
More in the coffers
Outside spending by liberal groups is not only rising, but there’s more money to spend: Liberal super PACs and Carey committees have about $132 million cash on hand versus $105 million by conservatives. The figures will likely change based on mid-year filings due July 15.
The rise in outside spending is being driven by contributions from a handful of Democratic megadonors. Seven of the top 10 donors to all outside spending groups have donated exclusively to liberals.
These liberal “megadonors” include Tom Steyer ($29.2 million), Donald Sussman ($13.4 million) and George Soros ($9 million). Steyer’s contributions have gone exclusively to NextGen Climate Action, a super PAC he founded for environmental advocacy.