Outside Money Rules in Colorado Senate Race

In this photo provided by NBC, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet, left, listens to Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Ken Buck, as they debate on NBC's Meet the Press in Washington Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010. Under pressure to defend himself, Buck compared homosexuality to alcoholism, and insisted he hasn't abandoned the far-right in favor of appealing to moderate voters in one of nation's most competitive Senate contests. (AP Photo/NBC, William B. Plowman) William B. Plowman

Colorado Senate candidates Michael Bennet, left, and Ken Buck, debate on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2010.
AP Photo/NBC, William B. Plowman

With all the outside campaign money being thrown around, which race has gotten the most? We can tell you: it's the Bennet v. Buck race for Colorado Senate. As of this week, the race has attracted nearly $30 million in "outside" funding.

Money spent by outside groups that is not directly given to the candidate qualifies as outside funding. That means that California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's internal contributions -- she has put more than $140 million of her own money toward her campaign -- doesn't qualify. 

According to "Open Secrets," the biggest outside spenders include the Democrat's and the Republican's Senate Campaign Committees and a non-party group: The DSCC ($6.4 million), the NRSC ($4 million), and American Crossroads ($4.7 million). Republican challenger Ken Buck has gotten exactly twice as much from outside groups ($2.6 million) as has Michael Bennet ($1.3 million). For the record, a local poll says the race is a dead heat: each candidate has 47% support.


Critical Contests: CBS News Election 2010 Race Ratings
Read the Latest on the Colorado Senate Race


Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News Investigative Correspondent based in Washington. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here.

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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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