GOP Senate Campaign Arm Is Pulling Ads in Three Key Races

dr-oz-gop-senate-ads - Credit: Ariana Shchuka/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/AP
dr-oz-gop-senate-ads - Credit: Ariana Shchuka/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/AP

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling $10 million worth of fall advertising reservations in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — three states at the center of the GOP’s push to regain control of Congress. The New York Times, which reported the news on Monday, notes Republicans have been struggling to raise money as of late, as well as that the decision to pull ads for some of its top candidates could be tied to the party’s financial troubles.

The NRSC has cut the most money, $5 million, in Pennsylvania, where quack TV doctor Mehmet Oz is taking on Lt. Governor John Fetterman. Oz’s campaign has been fraught, to say the least, and current polling averages currently have him losing to the Democrat by more than 10 percentage points. Oz narrowly edged out David McCormick in the state’s Republican primary behind the strength of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Members of the Republican establishment, and even Trump’s circle, had lined up to back McCormick for fear that Oz couldn’t beat Fetterman.

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The committee also cut more than $2 million in both Arizona, where Trump-backed Blake Masters is up against incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, and Wisconsin, where incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson is trying to fend off rising Democratic star Mandela Barnes, who won his primary last week. Polling averages have Masters trailing Kelly by more 10 points. There isn’t much polling for the matchup between Johnson and Barnes, but the race is expected to be a close one, making the NRSC’s move to cut bait — at least $2 million worth of it — all the more surprising.

NRSC Communication Director Chris Hartline stressed that the committee was still invested in all three races in a statement to the Times. “Nothing has changed about our commitment to winning in all of our target states,” he said.

The Senate is currently split 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats holding the edge because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ability to cast tie-breaking votes, as she did last week when the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act along party lines. Republicans have been hoping to take control of the chamber this November, but if Fetterman wins in Pennsylvania they’d be losing a seat (that race is to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey), and they stand to lose another should Johnson lose to Barnes in Wisconsin.

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