As we move into June, we’re getting a sense of what to expect of the 2020 election cycle. Presidential spending is ramping up, and frontrunners are emerging in battleground Senate elections. In total, we have seen nine Senate elections surpass $1 million in digital spending for 2020. Of these Kentucky, South Carolina, Arizona, and Maine have each surpassed $2 million.
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Overall, Democrats are currently outspending Republicans in every election except the Georgia Special and Montana Senate, though Republicans in these elections are outspending their Democratic opponets by slim margins. Democrats hold the widest advantages in the AZ Senate and ME Senate races where they are outspending Republicans 5:1 and 4:1, respectively. These Republican incumbents are seen as two of the most vulnerable, so it makes sense that Democrats are targeting these elections heavily.
The two elections where Republicans have a spending advantage are interesting case studies. The Special election for GA Senate stands out as a jungle general election where the two highest vote-getters will proceed to a runoff if no candidate receives 50% of the vote. The top spenders right now are the top candidates, Raphael Warnock (D) ANDKelly Loeffler and Doug Collins (R). With two top-tier Republicans in the race, a good deal of Republican spending has been an effort to promote Loeffler and Collins over each other. Were there only one Republican candidate, the partisan balance of spending might look different.
In Montana, incumbent Steve Daines is very popular and at the outset of the 2020 race, the election was not expected to be close. Everything changed when the very popular Democratic governor Steve Bullock announced that he would challenge Senator Daines. The race turned competitive overnight – President Trump even tweeted his support of Senator Daines immediately after Governor Bullock’s announcement. In the battle of the Steves, Daines is currently outspending Bullock although it is very close. As we move closer to November, these races are shaping up to be some of the closest battles for control of the Senate.