New Trump-backed super PAC pours $8.6 million in ad spending into key races

The new PAC allows for larger direct donations to candidates Trump favors.

October 20, 2022, 10:00 AM

A new super PAC backed by former President Donald Trump is injecting money into key 2022 races, investing $4 million in a new round of ad spending in battleground states, according to new financial data.

The series of six- to seven-figure ad placements from super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. on Wednesday in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia and Nevada is a last-minute boost from Trump's team ahead of the November election. It follows months of criticism from Trump skeptics within the GOP that the former president is not spending enough to support 2022 GOP candidates, despite his massive fundraising power.

Wednesday's placements are the second round of ad spending by the new PAC, which was launched in late September and kicked off its first round of placements in the same Senate races earlier this month.

According to ad tracking firm Ad Impact, Make America Great Again Inc.'s biggest investment in the latest ad placement was a $1 million ad buy in the race between Democrat Tim Ryan and Trump-endorsed J.D. Vance in the Ohio Senate race, followed by $770,000 in spending on the rivalry between Democrat John Fetterman and Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

The latest spending also includes a $725,000 investment in the Arizona Senate race, $681,000 in the Georgia Senate race and $653,000 in the Nevada Senate race, according to Ad Impact.

With the new spending on Wednesday, the super PAC's total ad spending through mid-October amounts to roughly $8.6 million, according to the ad data and past disclosure filings submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

In all, Make America Great Again Inc. has spent $2.4 million in the Ohio Senate race, $1.8 million in the Arizona Senate race, roughly $1.6 million each in the Georgia and Pennsylvania Senate races, and $1.3 million in the Nevada Senate race.

PHOTO: Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla.
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Okla.
Evan Vucci/AP

But the Trump super PAC's spending so far remains a small drop in a bucket compared to the 2022 races' massive ad placements made by the Republicans' Senate Leadership Fund and the Democrats' Senate Majority PAC.

Make America Great Again Inc. has yet to disclose how much money it's raised so it's unclear how more it could end up spending over the final weeks of the campaign, but the launching of the new super PAC -- which by law can make unlimited independent expenditures in support of candidates -- now allows Trump and his team to make sizable investments to directly back GOP candidates he has touted.

In contrast, Trump's existing leadership PAC, Save America, can donate to other PACs and super PACs -- but can only make limited direct contributions to candidates. It's made a series of $5,000 donations to candidates over the last two years -- as well as giving upwards of $6 million to various super PACs and outside groups -- but critics have pointed out that's only a small fraction of the hundreds of millions of dollars Save America's joint fundraising operation has raised over that period.

Instead, much of Save America PAC's money has gone to consulting and fundraising -- as well as to covering legal fees associated with the congressional investigation into Jan. 6 and the fraud cases against Trump's namesake company in New York.

And Save America's fundraising has increased over the last few months, with the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee raising $24 million in the third quarter of this year, compared to $17 million in the second quarter, according to its latest FEC filing.