The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Americans for Prosperity has already spent $7 million on ads against Kay Hagan. No, that’s not a typo.

Readers of this blog know that Americans for Prosperity has spent huge sums of cash on ads criticizing vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection. But one state stands out from the pack: North Carolina, where the Koch brothers-backed group has already dropped a whopping $7 million+ on the airwaves barraging Sen. Kay Hagan (D).

In Monday's Read In over on Post Politics, Reid Wilson breaks down how much AFP spent in nine Senate races through the end of last week. North Carolina accounts for 44 percent of the more than $16 million the conservative group has shelled out.

So why North Carolina? Well, for starters, there arguably isn't a more crucial race in the battle for the Senate. Republicans need to pick up six seats to win back the majority. On our most recent rundown of the 10 seats most likely to flip party control, North Carolina was -- wait for it -- No. 6.

Secondly, of the four states won by Mitt Romney in which Democratic senators are running for reelection, North Carolina is the most expensive. As we wrote last week when we took a closer look at the Alaska Senate race, air time there as well as in Louisiana and Arkansas, isn't as expensive. Those states have smaller populations, thus less expensive media markets.

It's clear that AFP's ads are making an impact in North Carolina. The Cook Report recently moved North Carolina from "Lean Democratic" to "Tossup" as Hagan's poll numbers have declined amid the GOP spending blitz.

Democratic groups simply have not been able to keep up. Through the middle of last week, total GOP ad spending had topped $11 million in North Carolina, according to Democratic estimates, compared with $5.2 million by Democrats.

In other words, it's been pretty one-sided in the Tar Heel State.