Outside political groups have spent three times as much on political advertisements for the 2010 midterm elections as they had at the same point in 2006—an early sign both liberal and conservative groups plan to play a bigger role than ever in this year's congressional races.
The nonpartisan Campaign Media Analysis Group reports that advocacy groups seeking to influence elections have spent a total of $62 million thus far in the 2009-10 election season.
At the same point in the previous midterm election, outside groups had funded a total of $22 million in television ads.
Three of the largest labor organizations—the AFL-CIO; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; and Service Employees International Union—say they will spend a combined $150 million on the midterm election, according to interviews with political strategists at the unions. Other organizations, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Sierra Club, plan to spend tens of millions more.
One new conservative organization says it will spend $50 million on the election. The organization, called American Crossroads, was set up by Republican political strategist Karl Rove and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie. American Crossroads is one of two pro-Republican organizations created by Mr. Gillespie so far this year.