Even though it has yet to be settled - with a June 21 primary runoff looming - Alabama's U.S. Senate race was the third-most expensive of the 2022 election cycle thus far, reports campaign finance tracking website OpenSecrets.org.
The OpenSecrets analysis showed more than $24.5 million in super PAC spending was steered toward influencing the outcome of last Tuesday's Republican primary. Former Business Council of Alabama head Katie Britt emerged with a plurality of 45% of the vote, ahead of U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) at 29% and U.S. Army veteran Mike Durant at 23%.
Britt and Brooks will go head-to-head to determine who will be the Republican Party's nominee in the November general election.
When broken down, Britt had $6 million in PAC support with nearly $3.6 million in PAC money spent against her. Durant had almost $4.3 million in PAC support, with almost $3.5 million in PAC money opposing him, while Brooks had $3 million in PAC money supporting his effort and $4.1 million in PAC money working against him.
Pro-Durant Alabama Patriots PAC led the way in spending $4.6 million, followed by pro-Brooks/anti-Britt Club for Growth Action with $4.4 million and anti-Brooks Alabama's Future PAC dropping $4 million.
OpenSecrets' Jimmy Cloutier took notice of the super PAC money spent to support Durant's effort, which he said may have hurt Durant more than helped in the end.
"[For] Durant, the group lending its support may have done him more harm than good," Cloutier wrote. "The pro-Durant super PAC, Alabama Patriots, was funded almost entirely by wealthy out-of-state donors and 'dark money,' a fact Durant's rivals exploited to cast doubt on his conservative bona fides.
"FEC filings show the liberal hybrid PAC America's Promise steered $4.2 million in contributions to Alabama Patriots. More than half the $6 million America's Promise raised came from seven wealthy West coast individuals — and $2 million came from a mysterious 'dark money' group called Defending America Together. Documents show an organization with that name was incorporated in Delaware in January 2022. As a 501(c)4 nonprofit, Defending America Together is not required to disclose its donors."
Cloutier also credited U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa) for the leadership PAC money put toward Britt's U.S. Senate bid.
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Shelby steered more than $5.5 million from their leadership PACs to pro-Britt groups to bolster her campaign," Cloutier wrote. "Another super PAC, Alabama Conservative Fund, flush with cash from some of Alabama's richest business executives, helped Britt finish first in the primary with an additional $2.3 million in outside spending."
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