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Conservative outside group drops $70M on Senate Democrats in battlegrounds

One Nation, a top conservative group, is plowing $70 million more into hitting vulnerable Democrats in key Senate races nationwide according to details first shared with POLITICO, an extraordinary sum that’s roughly double the group’s Senate investment last cycle.

The nonprofit advocacy outfit, which is closely aligned with GOP leaders and the top GOP super PAC, is dropping tens of millions into five key battleground states to join a campaign already up in Montana.

The group is diving into Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada in a sweeping ad buy focused on the southern border and inflation, an effort branded as the “Stop the Insanity” campaign. The push includes spending on radio, mail, TV and digital.

The total spend for the campaign this cycle is $88 million, more than double the $43 million run of ads the group ran last cycle. The lion’s share of the new money will go into what Republicans currently see as their top three pick-up opportunities: The group will start $28.6 million in ads in Ohio on May 22 and $18.6 million in Pennsylvania starting in mid-June. The group previously announced a $17.9 million tranche of ads in Montana.

One Nation will also air $9.4 million in ads in Michigan and $7.5 million in Wisconsin starting in August and $5.9 million in Nevada beginning on June 18. The summer ads are still under development; the two that have run in Montana both hit Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on his border record.

“President Joe Biden and liberals in Congress have enacted policies that are hurting our country and it’s time to tell them to stop the insanity,” said One Nation President and CEO Steven Law. “Americans are increasingly concerned about our porous Southern border and saving for the future because the cost of living is so high. There are solutions to these problems, but liberals in Washington, D.C., aren’t listening.”

The campaign excludes two other prospective battlegrounds in Arizona and Maryland, though money could be added later this summer.

Many Democrats are staking their border security politics on the bipartisan border deal hatched earlier this year by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.).

At-risk Democrats, including Tester, are pressing Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold another vote on it, arguing the GOP’s rejection of that bill, directed by Donald Trump, demonstrates their position is all politics. Tester also recently signed onto the Laken Riley Act, which would detain undocumented immigrants who are arrested for stealing.

With the border still a hot issue nationally, Tester and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are widely seen as the most vulnerable Democrats this election cycle, and Republicans believe they have a good shot against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) as well. Spending in the other three states shows Republicans are still playing on a wide field.

The top GOP super PAC, Senate Leadership Fund, has already reserved fall ads in Montana and Ohio, while Democrats have already invested more than $300 million across the Senate map between Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That’s to say nothing of the Democratic senators and candidates themselves, who are generally outraising their opponents.

As NRSC Chair Steve Daines put it in an interview this week: “We are at a cash on hand disadvantage in virtually every race.”

That’s what makes the One Nation’s onslaught so important: It gives the GOP critical air cover in half a dozen states while the rest of the party braces for the crucial fall ad buying season.

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