Facebook’s Georgia ad loophole has politicians around the US fundraising off runoff elections
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Georgia’s runoff elections are just peachy for political fundraising – with lawmakers and political action committees from around the country stepping into the fray to shake out some cash.
Facebook halted political ads the week before Election Day, but it announced earlier this month that they would temporarily resume before the runoffs. The exemption only applies to ads targeted in the state.
Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are hoping to hold off challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively, after each candidate failed to get enough votes on Election Day to win outright. The runoff elections are Jan. 5.
FACEBOOK INTERRUPTS BAN ON POLITICAL ADVERTISING FOR GEORGIA RUNOFFS
From left to right: The Rev. Raphael Warnock, Jon Ossoff, Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue. (Photo Illustration/Getty Images)
If the Democrats win both races, the Senate will see a 50-50 tie between the GOP and senators who caucus with the Democratic Party, which include independent Sens. Bernie Sanders and Angus King. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would represent a potential tiebreaking vote, giving Democrats control of both the legislative and executive branches.
Publicly available Facebook ad-spending data shows a number of high-profile politicians have used the races and the candidates to raise funds for their own PACs, the Daily Beast reported Wednesday.
They include members of both parties, like Sens. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Kirsten Gillibrand, and incoming House members, who haven’t yet been sworn into Congress. And they include President Trump. They could still use the money raised for their PACs to campaign on behalf of the Georgia candidates, but most of it will be controlled by their respective committees.
When the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee founded by conservatives, tweeted out the Daily Beast story, another Twitter user pointed to the group’s own Peach State fundraising.
"The Lincoln Project raised $4.8 million between November 24th and December 16th hyping the Georgia Senate runoff elections," wrote Rob Pyers, of the nonpartisan California Target Book, which monitors and reports on political campaigns. "Since then, it has spent $1.1 million on independent expenditures in those races and paid Steve Schmidt $1.5 million."
Schmidt, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, was a Republican strategist for years before breaking with the party over President Trump. The Lincoln Project did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.
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The Georgia candidates themselves have raised record-breaking sums ahead of the runoffs.
Both Ossoff and Warnock have raised more than $100 million each over the past two months. In the same span, both Perdue and Loeffler raised more than $60 million apiece.
The previous record of quarterly fundraising for a Senate campaign was $57 million.
Fox News’ Samuel Dorman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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