Colorado's races are No. 2 in nation for contributions from outside groups

Bill Theobald --- The Coloradoan 

WASHINGTON – Outside interest groups continue to plow money into the Colorado Senate race — more than $10.5 million in just the eight days ended Tuesday, and a total of almost $61 million on behalf of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The only race in the country with more spending by outside groups is the Senate race in North Carolina, at $76 million.

The outside spending in the Colorado contest is more than double the $27.1 million the two candidates' campaign committees spent as of Oct. 15 — $17.9 million by Udall and $9.2 by Gardner, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Most of the outside spending in Colorado and across the country pays for television advertisements. A total of $1.2 billion has been spent on 2.2 million TV ads in federal and gubernatorial races in advance of Election Day next week, the Wesleyan Media Project reported Wednesday.

In Colorado, viewers have been subjected to 12,211 ads about the Senate race in just the past two weeks — both by the campaigns and outside groups — according to the report. Overall TV ad spending on the race is now $38 million for 55,710 spots — trailing only the No. 1 North Carolina contest and the Georgia Senate race.

Most of the Colorado ads — for federal and gubernatorial races combined — have aired in the Denver market: 78,000 TV spots costing $77 million, according to the Wesleyan Media report.

Of the outside spending in the Colorado Senate race, Udall has a slight advantage, with $32.2 million spent either to support him or attack Gardner, while $28.5 million has been spent to support Gardner or attack Udall.

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