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Matrix Finds Big Political Spenders Weren't Necessarily Big Winners

Matrix revisited its midterm ad spending totals to see how the big spenders fared in the 10 swing state Senate races where it had tracked local broadcast TV spending and, as of press time, more of the bigger spenders lost than won.

Of the seven toss-ups where the races have been decided--ballots were still being counted or recounts were in the offing in Arizona, Florida and Montana--six of the biggest spenders were the Democrats, though only two won, while the lone Republican outspender, Marsha Blackburn, current chair of the House Communications Subcommittee, won her race. So, of the seven, spending leaders won three and lost four.

The Democrats who lost despite outspending their opponents were Joe Donnely in Indiana, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Beto O'Rourke in Texas.

Races yet to be decided at press time were incumbent Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) vs. Rick Scott, Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs. Martha McSally (vying for the open seat of retiring Republican Jeff Flake), and incumbent John Tester (D-Mont.) vs. Matthew Rosendale. In those races, Scott outspent Nelson, Tester outspent Rosendale (but just barely) and Systema edged out McSally in the spending column.

Democrats spent $133,026,657 (52% of the total) on local TV broadcast political ads in those toss-up states, while Republicans spent $123,077,453 (48%) of the $256,104,110 total.