This post has been updated to reflect new spending numbers.
Backers of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate by a 68 to 32 margin on Thursday have outspent opponents of the Gang of Eight's bill by a huge margin, according to an analysis of advertising data from across the country, money that provided cover to key Democrats and Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.
The five groups that spent significant amounts of money on advertising have dropped a total of $5.8 million into their television and radio campaigns since April, the data show. The four big groups opposing the bill spent a total of $1.94 million over the same timeframe.
Americans for a Conservative Direction, a front group controlled by the pro-immigration reform FWD.us, led the charge, dropping almost $4.4 million on advertisements that ran in 16 states and the District of Columbia. The group spent half that amount on national radio spots, and almost $900,000 on ads that ran on Fox News.
Aside from the national buys, FWD.us, a group funded by tech executives led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, spent most heavily in Texas. ACD dropped $255,000 on cable television advertisements in 19 markets, and on radio spots in another two. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn both voted against the bill on final passage.
The Council for American Job Growth, another FWD-funded group, spent an additional $126,000 on advertisements across Alaska, aimed at giving cover to Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat. Begich voted for the bill.
The Chamber of Commerce and the Service Employees International Union, strange political bedfellows, both spent heavily on pro-reform advertisements as well. The Chamber spent all of its $345,000 on Fox News advertisements, while SEIU divided its $365,000 between national CNN and Fox News ads and on broadcast and cable spots in ten states. Those states -- Alaska, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia -- are all home to Democratic or Republican senators considered swing votes on final passage.
And the American Action Network, a Republican super PAC with ties to House Speaker John Boehner, added an additional $611,000 in national advertising, a spokesman for the group told us.
Opponents of immigration reform concentrated on their own swing voters. The SC Conservative Action Alliance dropped $355,000 on broadcast and cable ads in seven markets that cover South Carolina; Sen. Tim Scott voted against the final bill, but Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Gang of Eight member, supported it.
A group calling itself Californians for Population Stabilization spent $104,000 on ads that ran in Tampa and Orlando, aimed at getting another Gang of Eight member, Marco Rubio, to reconsider his position on the bill. The Federation for American Immigration Reform, by far the biggest-spending opponent of the bill, spent $923,000 on their own ads, including $176,000 in Florida and more than $50,000 each in Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Numbers USA, another opponent of the bill, spent $560,000 in eleven states where swing senators reside.
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