As the 2022 primary season kicks off, many crucial primary races and general elections are seeing a massive influx of funds from out-of-state donors and organizations.
Axios reports that these findings can be seen in Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings for 26 different super PACs focused on supporting individual candidates.
Campaign spending up through March 31st was made public on Friday due to a reporting deadline, with the newly-revealed information showing that the 26 PACs raised a combined total of $84 million this cycle so far. Of that amount, over three-fourths came from donors living outside of the states where the races in question are taking place. Furthermore, half of the PACs received at least 95 percent of all their funding from out-of-state.
Some of the most prominent examples include Saving Arizona and Project Ohio Values, two super PACs that support the U.S. Senate candidacies of Republicans Blake Masters and J.D. Vance, respectively; both groups are funded by tech billionaire Peter Thiel. The biggest super PAC on the list dedicated exclusively to the U.S. House of Representatives, Progress Pinellas, raised $1.5 million to support the candidacy of Democrat Eric Lynn in Florida’s 13th district; all of those funds came directly from Chicago-based private equity executive Justin Ishbia.
Spokespersons from several of the PACs in question defended these out-of-state donations as the best means for combatting wealthy candidates who are largely self-funding their own campaigns. Luke Thompson, executive director of Project Ohio Values, said that “our campaign finance system overwhelmingly benefits people who can self-fund campaigns to the tune of many millions of dollars,” and as such, “candidates who aren’t mega-rich have to try to make up the difference with a combination of small-dollar fundraising and support from outside groups.”
A similar sentiment was expressed by a spokesperson for Saving Arizona, who pointed out that primary rival Jim Lamon, a solar power businessman who is funding his own campaign, can “access the cheapest television rates available due to FCC rules for candidate ads.”
“To a degree,” the spokesperson continued, “independent expenditure groups like ours level the playing field and allow us to help candidates who aren’t extremely wealthy to be competitive with those that are.”
Such groups as these are proving to be just as significant as , if not even more so than, more prominent organizations focused on winning general elections such as the pro-GOP Senate Leadership Fund or the pro-Democrat Senate Majority PAC; rather, these groups are focused more specifically on securing the general election nominations for particular candidates, rather than on backing the party as a whole.