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Mehmet Oz at a campaign rally in Elizabethtown, Pa., on Nov. 2, 2022.
Mehmet Oz at a campaign rally in Elizabethtown, Pa., on Nov. 2, 2022.Ryan Collerd / AFP - Getty Images

Pennsylvania Senate race highlights spending boom

The state's Senate race is the most expensive in the nation, and it tops a deluge of spending in Pennsylvania this election cycle. 


Six years ago, the Pennsylvania Senate race was the most expensive Senate contest in the country. It’s topping that list again for this election cycle, but with more than $100 million additional spending on the airwaves than in 2016.

So far $261 million has been spent or reserved on the airwaves in the Keystone State contest, according to the ad tracking firm AdImpact, making it the most expensive Senate race in the country.  The race was also the most expensive in 2016, when $138 million was spent on ads. 

The spending boom in Pennsylvania underscores the broader increase in campaign spending over the last few election cycles. In 2016, Democrats and Republicans spent a combined $885 million on ads in Senate races. Senate race ad spending has doubled since then, with nearly $1.9 billion spent on Senate races so far, per AdImpact.

That’s in part because Pennsylvania also played host to a very expensive GOP Senate primary, with wealthy candidates such as celebrity doctor Mehemet Oz and former hedge fund manager David McCormick spending millions of their own money on the race. Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has also been among the more prolific fundraisers.

Pennsylvania has also attracted scores of outside spending as it is key to determining Senate control. In the final stretch of the race, both parties are appealing to voters on a range of issues, painting the opposing candidates as too extreme for the swing state. 

In one of his latest TV ads, Fetterman sought to draw a contrast with Oz, saying “He lies for your vote. I’ll never break your trust.”

Oz, meanwhile, has sought to paint himself as a more moderate alternative, saying in a recent ads, “Politicians point fingers. Doctors solve problems.”