“It’s an open seat but [Gomez] knew he was essentially running against an incumbent,” says Shannon Jenkins, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. “Markey has a huge network of donors, so Gomez needed all the help he could get.”
But now it seems that strategy may have backfired. Since the general election campaign began, outside groups have spent far more on Markey’s campaign than Gomez’s. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending, “super political-action committees” and other groups have paid out about $2 million in support of Markey’s campaign and another $2.5 million-plus against Gomez since the start of the election cycle.
For Gomez, on the other hand, outside groups have funneled about $700,000 into efforts on his behalf and spent another $700,000 against Markey.
And as the two candidates and their supporters race to reach lethargic voters more focused on summer beach trips and the Stanley Cup finals than politics, this outside money has fueled a blitz of TV and radio ads to hammer home the campaigns’ messages.
Over the past month, the Senate Majority super PAC, for instance, has spent more than $1 million on Markey ads, with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dropping another $700,000, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which also collects campaign finance data. A second super PAC, the NextGen Committee, which opposes the Keystone XL Pipeline, spent $153,000 of its own to run a string of anti-Gomez ads on the streaming radio service Pandora.