Tribune-Review — The most expensive U.S. Senate campaign in American history rolled into Western Pennsylvania on Wednesday with stops at two suburban Pittsburgh restaurants and a University of Pittsburgh ballroom.
About $145 million has been spent on the race between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Chester County Democrat Katie McGinty, Federal Election Commission records showed as of midday Wednesday. That included $110.8 million in spending by outside groups not affiliated with the candidates’ campaigns, most of it on television advertising.
North Carolina’s 2014 Senate race previously drew the most outside money at $80.7 million.
“It’s getting hard to watch TV in the Toomey household, I can tell you that,” Toomey said during a morning stop at Bob’s Diner in the Pittsburgh suburb of Castle Shannon, alluding to the torrent of ads that are dominating commercial breaks.
Toomey and McGinty came to Western Pennsylvania with other senators to help them make a case for their campaigns, currently locked in a virtual dead heat. RealClearPolitics’ polling average showed that Toomey leads by 1.8 percentage points.
Toomey’s campaign spent $18.5 million through Sept. 30, while McGinty’s spent $9.7 million, records showed.
Republican senators from Louisiana, Colorado, North Carolina and Alaska joined their colleague Toomey at the Castle Shannon diner. They planned to visit an Ambridge diner later.
Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska claimed the honor of having traveled the farthest, and told a small but enthusiastic invitation-only crowd at Bob’s Diner that should give them a sense of the importance of the election.
“The balance of the U.S. Senate is likely to turn on what happens in this race,” Sullivan said. Republicans currently hold a 54-46 majority.
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