Here’s where the battle for Senate control will be won — or lost | #alaska | #politics

In the battle for the evenly divided Senate, the major Democratic and Republican committees and groups have now all announced their first round of advertising reservations for the general election. Where party leaders and strategists decide to commit a major chunk of their campaign budgets provides the clearest look yet at which races are the most important to determining Senate control.
*National Republican Senatorial Committee: Georgia ($9.5 million); Wisconsin ($9 million); New Hampshire ($9 million); Arizona ($8 million); Pennsylvania ($8 million); North Carolina ($6.5 million); Nevada ($3 million)
*Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: Nevada ($8.4 million); Arizona ($7.5 million); Georgia ($7 million); New Hampshire ($4 million); Pennsylvania ($3 million); Wisconsin ($3 million)
*Senate Leadership Fund (Republican super PAC): Georgia ($37.1 million); North Carolina ($27.6 million); Pennsylvania ($24.6 million); Wisconsin ($15.2 million); Nevada ($15.1 million); Arizona ($14.4 million); Alaska ($7.4 million)

*Senate Majority PAC (Democratic super PAC): Pennsylvania ($26 million); Georgia ($24.7 million); Arizona ($22.3 million); Nevada ($21 million); Wisconsin ($12.6 million)

Let’s break down that one-third of a billion dollars (!) in ad spending a bit.

There are five states that appear on the list for all four groups: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those are all states Joe Biden carried in the 2020 presidential election — and by some of his narrowest margins.

Democratic incumbents are running in Arizona (Sen. Mark Kelly), Georgia (Sen. Raphael Warnock) and Nevada (Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto). Pennsylvania, where Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring, and Wisconsin, where Sen. Ron Johnson is running for reelection, are the only two Republican-held seats the Democratic groups have on their initial target list.

The two Republican groups — the NRSC and SLF — are spending in North Carolina, the only state Donald Trump won in 2020 among this group (aside from Alaska — more on that below). GOP Sen. Richard Burr is retiring, leaving the seat vacant.

And just the party committees — the NRSC and DSCC — made ad reservations in New Hampshire, a state Biden won where Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is seeking another term.

(SLF’s spending in reliably Republican Alaska, which uses a top-four primary system, is an outlier here: the group is helping GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski fend off a Trump-backed challenger.)

The amount of money these groups spend and where they choose to spend it can — and almost certainly will — change between now and November. As more primaries occur, unexpectedly strong or weak nominees could emerge, moving races up or down the priority list.

But given that Republicans need only a net gain of one seat to flip the chamber, and that the states listed here have also been key battlegrounds in recent elections, these are the races that will be at the core of the fight for the Senate majority.

The Point: There will be plenty of bluster from both parties in the coming months about the state of play in the midterms. As the adage goes, follow the money.

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