Tea Party Super PAC FreedomWorks has spent around $100,000 on online ads this year in the hopes of defeating Senate candidates including longtime Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (left). Utah Republicans will caucus tonight to choose their party's nominee, and FreedomWorks is betting against Hatch.
The organization spent around $56,000 on web ads since January to oppose him, according to ClickZ Politics analysis. FreedomWorks is also fighting Republican Richard Lugar in his race to keep his Senate seat representing Indiana. That fight was just made a little easier today when a judge ruled that Lugar is not eligible to vote in Indiana because he no longer lives in the Hoosier state.
FreedomWorks isn't all negative online this primary season, though. The group is also backing Republican Senate hopeful Ted Cruz of Texas, spending close to $40,000 on Google advertising this year.
Among the Super PACs, FreedomWorks has been the biggest online ad spender this year in congressional primary races. All together, liberal and conservative groups spent about $190,000 on online ads supporting or opposing congressional candidates through independent expenditures since January.
Anti-incumbent Super PAC Campaign for Primary Accountability has spent more than $50,000 on online ads this year in several congressional races. The group bet wrong on two Alabama Republicans who won their primaries - Rep. Spencer Bachus and Rep. Jo Bonner. The group also bought web ads to support Dennis Kucinich - an incumbent Ohio Democrat who ran against incumbent Marcy Kaptur as a result of redistricting. Campaign for Primary Accountability ran online ads to oppose Kaptur, who won the primary.
The group also opposed Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio, a Republican who lost her primary bid. In addition the organization aims to influence the Illinois primaries, taking place March 20. It's backing former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and opposing current Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. - both Democrats - in another redistricting battle, and running ads against Rep. Donald Manzullo, a Republican, in the state.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent around $35,000 online to help Democrat Suzanne Bonamici win her congressional special election against Republican Rob Cornilles, which took place in January. It's unclear how much of that money went towards web ads, but a small portion went to Twitter according to FEC records.
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Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.
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