House races to watch for ‘outside spending’ effects

Outside groups have been vilified by the White House in this campaign, but they’ve played an essential role in some House races. The ones below have been the most expensive in terms of independent expenditures, which in each case far exceeded combined candidate spending.

In all five, Democrats have benefited more — sometimes way more — from outside money.

MI-7: Outside spending in the race between Rep. Mark Schauer, D, and former Rep. Tim Walberg, R, has clocked in at $8.4 million — more than in the Kentucky Senate race. A majority of the outside spending has benefited Schauer (either supporting him or opposing Walberg), with a large  share coming from union and environmental groups.

NV-3: Outside groups have spent $6.6 million here, again most of it benefiting the Democrat, Rep. Dina Titus. Late polls suggest that she will still lose this fair-fight suburban Las Vegas district to Joe Heck.

OH-16: Outside groups have spent $6.1 million here in freshman Democratic Rep. John Boccieri’s re-election effort. Again, the Democrat got most of the help ($3.7 million), and most of that ($3.2 million) came in the form of attack ads against Republican car dealer Jim Renacci.

VA-5: Freshman, Rep. Tom Perriello, D, is among the most endangered, and outside groups have poured $4.9 million into his race against Robert Hurt, R. Perrielllo was the chief beneficiary of the outside spending, with $3.3 million, or more than two-thirds, going to help him and hurt his opponent.

AZ-5: Outside groups spent nearly $4 million on this race. A narrow majority of it went to help Rep. Harry Mitchell and hurt his opponent, Republican Dave Schweikert. The National Education Association has been a big player on Mitchell’s behalf.

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