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throw money at it

Millionaire candidates make massive ad buys in Pennsylvania's GOP Senate primary

Millionaire Republican candidates are already spending big on the hotly contested Pennsylvania Senate primary, a race that could determine whether Democrats can maintain their razor-thin majority, Politico reports.

An early favorite for the GOP nomination was Sean Parnell, who won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump but dropped out in late November after allegations emerged that he had physically abused his ex-wife.

According to Politico, "Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor and television host who launched his campaign Nov. 30, has spent $5.4 million on advertisements in less than two months," while former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, "has dropped $3.7 million on ads."

One strategist predicts between $110 and $130 million will be spent on TV ads in the GOP primary, more than both parties combined spent on Pennsylvania's entire 2016 Senate election.

The most recent polling on the Republican primary has Oz leading the pack with 19 percent of likely voters planning to support him, but it remains anyone's race, with 51 percent of voters still undecided.

No new polling has been conducted since McCormick entered the race earlier this month.

The eventual GOP nominee is likely to face Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the November general election.

Fetterman — a former small-town mayor and a vocal supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — is widely perceived as a candidate who could win back frustrated rural voters who went for Trump in 2016 and 2020.

The latest polling on the Democratic side has Fetterman with 44 percent of the vote and State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta of Philadelphia in a distant second with 20 percent. Only 12 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

The GOP poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group surveyed 1,062 respondents, and has a margin of error of 2.99 percent. The Democratic poll was conducted by GQR Research, surveyed 600 respondents, and has a margin of error of four percent. Both were conducted in mid-December.