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Money in politics digest: The rare crossover super PACs

BY: JESSICA PIPER | 11/04/2022 03:31 PM EDT

It is relatively rare for large outside groups to support both Republicans and Democrats in the same election cycle.

As congressional elections have gotten more expensive over the past decade, by far the biggest spenders have been leadership-linked super PACs such as the Senate Majority PAC and Senate Leadership Fund, along with party-adjacent entities such as EMILY’s List (which supports Democratic women) and single-candidate groups funded by typical party donors, such as the 34N22 super PAC supporting Herschel Walker in Georgia.

But there are still a few exceptions to this cycle of groups that are focused on backing individual members rather than pushing a Republican or Democratic majority. Far and away the largest is the National Association of Realtors, whose political action committees — including both a regular PAC and a super PAC — have spent more than $11 million on independent expenditures this year.

The Realtors’ groups have thrown their money behind vulnerable Democrats including Reps. Cindy Axne of Iowa, Tom O’Halleran of Arizona and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas. The Republicans have backed include mostly moderate incumbents such as Reps. David Valadao of California, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Don Bacon of Nebraska. In Senate races, they have spent to support both Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

A second, smaller crossover group is the With Honor Fund, which has spent just shy of $2 million on independent expenditures this cycle to back Bacon along with Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Tony Gonzales (R-Texas).

Several of the candidates getting support from crossover groups are in highly competitive races, including Golden, Bacon and Gonzalez. In those cases, the spending from the National Association of Realtors or With Honor Fund is dwarfed by spending from typical party super PACs such as the House Majority PAC and Congressional Leadership Fund.

Last-minute super PACs

The window between the last campaign finance deadline and the general election provides a perfect opportunity for super PACs to launch and spend to support their preferred candidate without having to report their full financial information until after the election. The newly founded groups that have spent on independent expenditures include:

— Alaskans for Honest Government, founded as a hybrid PAC on Oct. 17, has spent $10,000 to oppose Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) in her ranked choice election against Republicans Nick Begich and Sarah Palin.

— The Equity Alliance Fund Action PAC, a super PAC founded on Oct. 27, has spent just shy of $19,000 to support Democrat Odessa Kelly, who is challenging Rep. Mark Green in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District.

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