Super PACs Set to Inundate Maryland’s Pivotal U.S. Senate Race

As Maryland emerges as a battleground in the fight for U.S. Senate control, political observers expect an unprecedented deluge of spending from super PACs and other outside groups. These deep-pocketed organizations, often obscure in name but formidable in influence, could potentially outmuscle even the candidates’ own campaigns.

With longtime Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin retiring, analysts like Todd Eberly of St. Mary’s College predict “money is going to pour into Maryland” as both parties vie for this key Senate seat that could decide the majority. Currently, Democrats cling to a 51-49 advantage, making every contest crucial.

“If Republicans would win Maryland, they’d be almost guaranteed a Senate majority,” Eberly stated.

Super PACs can raise unlimited funds from wealthy individuals, corporations and unions to bankroll TV ads and messaging – though they cannot coordinate directly with candidates. This free-for-all spending opened up after the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.

The race is already attracting seven-figure investments. The pro-Israel United Democracy Project spent over $4 million boosting Democratic Rep. Sarah Elfreth’s successful primary bid, puzzling observers by avoiding Israel-related topics.

On the Republican side, a new super PAC called “Maryland’s Future” received a $10 million seed donation from billionaire Ken Griffin shortly after ex-Gov. Larry Hogan entered the Senate race, though its intended spending remains unclear.

With control of Congress at stake, both national parties are expected to divert resources to Maryland. Democrat groups like Senate Majority PAC and EMILY’s List have already issued statements and funded ads against Hogan’s GOP bid.

This outpouring of super PAC money raises concerns about transparency and undue influence from undisclosed donors pursuing their own agendas, warns former Maryland Democratic chair Susan Turnbull: “They can make such an impact without the transparency that goes along with it.”

As November looms, Maryland is bracing to be inundated by a tidal wave of unlimited, often-opaque spending as the fight for Senate supremacy is waged through the saturation bombing tactics of super PACs on both sides.