PACs rally behind Handel with $16M spend

Political action committees and super PACs aligned with the Republican Party have spent more than $16.3 million in support of Karen Handel’s bid to replace Tom Price as the representative for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Per the pre-runoff filings reported to the Federal Election Commission, the Republican's own campaign brought in nearly $4.5 million in contributions, one-fifth of Democrat Jon Ossoff's $23.6 million haul.

But the GOP’s National Congressional Committee and other groups have spent millions more on her behalf – most of them as independent expenditures on ads attacking Ossoff.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC with ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan, spent more than $6.2 million on ads against Ossoff. The committee is responsible for the San Francisco ad campaign, which annoyed the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency because of its use of the image of a cable car in the video. The images were later replaced.

The National Republican Congressional Committee spent $5.8 million on the GOP candidate. President Trump held a fundraiser for Handel in April, while Vice President Mike Pence stumped for her on Friday.

America First Policies Inc., a non-profit started by President Trump’s campaign aides, also spent more than $1.2 million.

In comparison, the Ossoff camp has seen fewer independent expenditures, the majority of them coming from Democratic Party PACs. Among outside groups, Planned Parenthood features as a majority spender.

The 6th District race is the most expensive U.S. House race in the history of the nation, with more than $40 million in spending.