Outside groups spent $8 million in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, mostly to help Democrat Stephanie Murphy oust Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica.
Updated campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show outside groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democrats’ House Majority PAC combined to spend nearly $6.3 million on advertising either supporting Murphy or attacking Mica. And that does not include spending by the Florida Democratic Party, which paid for several mailers down the stretch that still havn’t shown up in posted campaign finance documents.
Mica got some help from Washington too, but not nearly as much and not nearly as soon. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Affairs combined to spend just over $1.6 million to support Mica or bash Murphy.
Murphy won 51-49, and Mica blamed the “massive amount of money” spent against him as one of the reasons his failed re-election campaign was “difficult and challenging.”
The outside money went a long way toward defining the campaign. Neither Mica, a 12-term incumbent, nor Murphy, a newcomer, had anywhere close to that kind of money in their official campaign funds, though the most recent filings for total contributions run only through Oct. 19, so do not include anything the candidates were able to raise or spend in the last three weeks. Mica had raised $1.2 million by that time, and Murphy about $600,000.
Murphy’s outside help came early and stayed relentless for nearly two months heading into the election, paying for independent television commercials, internet advertising, and mailers. The first to arrive was the House Majority PAC, which spent $430,000 on Sept. 22 on internet and TV advertising introducing Murphy. Before it was done, that Democratic organization spent about $1.1 million.
But her big benefactor was the DCCC, which spent