NBC10 Investigators: Tracking Pa. Senate Campaign Donations - NBC 10 Philadelphia
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NBC10 Investigators: Tracking Pa. Senate Campaign Donations

Outside Influences on PA Senate Race

NBC10's Investigative Reporter George Spencer tracks the impact of donors on Pennsylvania's hotly-contested race for US Senate. (Published Friday, Sept. 16, 2016)

The NBC10 Investigators discovered that both candidates for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat have raised more money from out-of-state donors than from donors in the state they’re campaigning to represent. 

Poll averages show incumbent Republican Pat Toomey and Democratic nominee Katie McGinty separated by less than half a point. 

Robin Kolodny, chair of Temple University’s political science department, says the out-of-state donors in this competitive race are mostly interested in larger, national issues. 

Both McGinty and Toomey received the most out-of-state money from the so-called “ATM state” of New York – where the campaigns collected more than half-a-million dollars each, as of the last filing deadline at the end of June. New York is followed by California – where McGinty received nearly 800 donations and Toomey received nearly 900. 

But that’s where the candidates’ donation “hot spots” diverge. 

McGinty received significant funding from Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. That includes maximum donations from Barbara Lee, an expert on women in politics, and from Elizabeth Bagley, a senior advisor in the State Department and a former ambassador. 

Toomey pulled in significant amounts from Florida, Texas, and Illinois – including maximum donations from Miami’s Norman Brayman, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, and from billionaire Chicago investor Sam Zell. 

All told, more than 11,000 individual donors outside of Pennsylvania have poured more than $7M into this race. 

None of the individual donors mentioned in our story replied to our request for comment about their contribution.