Since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, outside groups have been free to spend as much as they want supporting or opposing a candidate for office. And spend they did. We’ll take a look at the five races that attracted the most outside money this election cycle to see whether the PACs and party committees got the winner they wanted. Spending totals* represent the combination of outside spending supporting the candidate and opposing that candidate’s opponent.
5. Indiana Senate Rep. Joe Donnelly vs. Richard Mourdock $12 million vs. $16.5 million = $28.6 million ** Most outside money supported Mourdock, the Republican candidate Did money = victory? No.
Left: Democrat Joe Donnelly thanks supporters after winning at an election night celebration in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) Right: Republican Richard Mourdock pauses as he speaks to supporters in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Democratic U.S. Representative Joe Donnelly beat Republican Richard Mourdock, who, in the GOP primaries, had rallied Tea Party support to defeat centrist incumbent Senator Dick Lugar. In the general election, Mourdock struggled to win over moderates, a problem that grew worse when he said, during the final debate, that pregnancies from rape were “something that God intended to happen.” Mourdock received over $16.5 million from outside supporters, and Donnelly received about $12 million. Majority PAC, a super PAC that aims to defend the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, was the biggest spender, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee PAC came in second. The National Republican Senatorial Committee was third.
*Spending totals are from the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org, current as of Nov. 7.