At least a dozen super PACs and independent political groups have pledged at least $40 million so far in reserved TV time in Florida's U.S. Senate race — hoping to use a barrage of commercials before Election Day to steer voters to Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio or Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.
The money is almost split evenly between Republican and Democratic backers, with about $20 million on each side, the Herald/Times found.
And that doesn't even count the millions the candidates' own campaigns might pour into TV advertising. Both launched their first ads of the general election this month, but neither campaign would discuss with the Herald/Times how much they planned to spend through November.
Meanwhile, at least $12 million has already been spent by roughly two dozen groups to buoy Murphy's and Rubio's campaigns with outside support, including TV ads, Federal Election Commission records compiled by ProPublica show.
The tens of millions of dollars these political influencers are investing — from the conservative Koch brothers to liberal labor unions — is another mark of how important Florida's U.S. Senate race is on the national stage.