October 27, 2020

Senate Democratic SuperPAC buys $100,000 in ads for Ben Ray Luján

Rep. Ben Ray Luján

The Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC for Senate Democrats, has reportedly (TK) bought $100,000 in TV ads in support of U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s bid for the open U.S. Senate seat. 

The ads will begin airing Tuesday, October 27.

Former TV meteorologist and Republican Mark Ronchetti is running against Luján for the Senate seat, which is currently held by Democrat Tom Udall. Democrats have held both U.S. Senate seats in New Mexico since Udall won the seat in 2008, replacing Pete Domenici, a Republican who retired citing health reasons after a long stint in the Senate.

Jeff Glassburner, campaign manager for Ronchetti, described the ad buy as “an attempt to save Ben Ray Luján’s faltering campaign.”

“It’s a strong statement that national Democrats feel the need to try to rescue Ben Ray Luján in the final week of the election. It’s no surprise that the DC Super PAC is trying to bail out the DC-first candidate,” Glassburner said in a statement. 

The spending is a tiny fraction of the $235 million that Senate Majority PAC has spent so far this year across the country.

RELATED: Luján leads Ronchetti by 10 points in open U.S. Senate race

Luján’s campaign manager, Travis Brimm said the campaign “appreciates this show of support” from the Senate Majority PAC but added that the campaign is confident of Luján’s position heading into the election next week. 

“The Luján campaign has powerful momentum: Ben Ray is leading Mark Ronchetti by 10 points according to the latest polling, is running his own multi-million ad campaign that will run through Election Day, is coming off dominant debate performances, and has outraised Ronchetti by nearly five million dollars during the course of the campaign,” Brimm said. “Ben Ray’s campaign is proud to be powered by the people and to have received the endorsement of the premier organization working to get dark money out of politics, End Citizens United. One week from Election Day, we’re confident that New Mexicans across the state are showing up and already voting for Ben Ray and his positive vision for New Mexico.”

Ronchetti’s campaign outraised Luján during the third quarter, bringing in $1.8 million compared to $1.6 million raised by Luján’s campaign. Luján outraised Ronchetti in the pre-election period that ended on Oct. 14. And over the course of 2020, Luján’s campaign has raised roughly $5 million more than Ronchetti’s. 

Outside spending refers to political expenditures made by nonprofits, Super PACs or individuals not associated with campaigns. The level of outside spending in federal elections has steadily grown since 2008, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Outside spending groups, which do not have to disclose their donors, have spent $1.96 million on the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico so far this year.  

Outside spending for Ben Ray Luján

National Association of Realtors SuperPAC$1,488,382
American College of Radiology$25,502
Indivisible Action$10,884
National Association of Realtors PAC$10,484
Dreams in Action NM$5,790
Sierra Club independent Action$10

Outside Spending for Mark Ronchetti

Family Policy Alliance$3,000
National Rifle Association$11,424

The conservative-leaning Common Sense New Mexico has not spent any money in support of Ronchetti’s campaign but did spend $404,478 against Luján.