Thursday, July 18, 2024

Abortion-Focused Super PACs Sent $6 Million in October to Battleground Races

Over the last month, an estimated $6 million of outside spending has flowed into critical battleground U.S. Senate and House elections from the super political action committees (PACs) for four of the nation’s leading groups focused on abortion.

Super PACs associated with the pro-abortion Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood Action invested approximately $2.99 million on advertising and voter outreach in federal races during the first three weeks of October, according to an analysis by The 19th of independent expenditure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.The super PACs aligned with the National Right To Life Committee and Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which oppose abortion, spent $3 million from October 1 to October 24. Most of that amount was generate by Women Speak Out, the super PAC affiliated with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

The Emily’s List Women Vote spent over $2.5 million in October, part of the total $22.8 million it distributed since the start of the 2022 campaign cycle.Women Speak Out spent $2.2 million in October, out of its total $3.5 million handed out this cycle.

Planned Parenthood Votes spent over $426,000 in October and over $5.7 million total during the current cycle.

The National Right to Life Victory Fund spent over $778,000 in October and over $919,000 overall.

Federal law limits how much money regular political action committees can give directly to a candidate. But, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United vs. FEC lifted legal limits on how much super PACs associated with those groups can spend on outside investments, like advertising and voter outreach intended to influence the electorate.

Nearly all of Women Vote’s October outside spending was sunk into television and digital advertising. Most of Planned Parenthood Votes’ reported expenditures in October were spent on voter communications, canvassing and mailers.

The National Right to Life Victory Fund and Women Speak Out devoted most of their October expenditures to direct mailers and voter canvassing, as well as some advertising.

Women Speak Out in particular funded over $430,000 in digital ads in the Senate battlegrounds of Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in late October.

Such outside investments in congressional races — formally known as independent expenditures — represent but a fraction of the specific groups’ spending and involvement in the 2022 midterms.

Yet,  where the four abortion-focused organizations are have been and still are spending millions in the fight to control Congress tell a story about the electoral environment — and where the groups think their messaging will be able to capture the most votes in the final days before the elections.

When tracking independent expenditures cumulatively larger than $5,000 per candidate, Pennsylvania, Washington, Nevada, North Carolina and Michigan have seen the most outside spending in federal races from the four super PACs.

Pennsylvania leads the total money with over $5 million granted by all four groups during the entire 2022 cycle, as they shoveled money into the state’s competitive U.S. Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz. Spending in that race skyrocketed in October: