By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Zachary A. Goldfarb
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 3, 2006; Page A01
As the race for control of Congress turns toward its final sprint to Election Day, independent organizations with ideological or commercial stakes in the outcome are pouring record amounts of money into the closest contests -- in some cases eclipsing the spending of the candidates themselves.
In Ohio, Rep. Deborah Pryce, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, was attacked by nearly $1 million in negative commercials this summer. But her Democratic opponent, Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, did not pay for any of them.
They were bankrolled instead by trial lawyers, labor unions and the liberal group MoveOn.org. In fact, outside groups appear to have spent more in that period than Pryce and Kilroy combined, a pattern that is being duplicated in some of the most competitive campaigns across the country.
Politically active groups on both left and right are shelling out dollars faster than in any previous midterm election and focusing them intensely on the races that are up for grabs. Even with five weeks to go in the campaign, the $34 million in "independent expenditures" so far is nearly double the amount spent in the entire 2002 midterm election, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.com.