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Independent Political Spending High In NY In Advance Of Election

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Candidates in competitive congressional races are spending millions of dollars to get elected or sent back to Washington as independent political groups are pouring money into upstate districts in an attempt to sway voters. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

According to estimates from the Federal Election Commission, only California and Illinois have seen more independent political spending than the Empire State. In New York, about $29 million has been spent so far on things.

They include ads coming in from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that blast incumbent Democrats.

"25 years in Washington and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is making things tougher for small businesses," says one ad.

They also include ads from the League of Conservation Voters that take on incumbent Republicans.

"And Buerkle sides with Tea Party extremists calling climate change a 'myth,'" says one of their ads about Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle.

It's part of a national trend: the rise of the super PAC spending cash on candidates all on its own.

Experts say it's taking off here in New York.

"You are getting huge amounts of independent spending in races that are considered to be politically and ideologically significant," said Richard Briffault of Columbia Law School.

Practically all of the spending here is happening outside of New York City, centered in 10 toss-up congressional districts.

The vast majority of these ads are negative. Records show nearly $22 million has been spent just on negative advertising so far.

As for who's benefiting, it's hard to tell. For instance, about $1.5 million has gone to tackle Kathy Hochul, and about $1.3 million to slam her opponent, Chris Collins.

Head south, and $1.7 million worth of advertising has slammed Republican Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, while conservative groups have directed about $1.3 million at fighting her opponent.

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