Outside political groups have stayed out of the U.S. Senate general election race so far.

There has been hardly any money spent by PACs or Super PACs on the race to replace longtime Republican Senator Jon Kyl, Federal Election Commission records show. Republican Jeff Flake is facing off against Democrat Richard Carmona in that race.

The Senate Conservatives Fund has spent about $18,600 on online ads supporting Flake — but that’s all that has been spent on the race since the Aug. 28 primary, FEC records show.

During the Republican primary, outside political groups spent $1.5 million. Most of that, $1 million, came from the conservative Club for Growth in backing Flake with TV and radio ads and mailers.

Flake was challenged by Wil Cardon, a wealth businessman who spent nearly $8.8 million of his money to bankroll his campaign. Flake defeated Cardon in the Aug. 28 Republican primary by 48 percentage points.

The lack of money being spent on what’s known as “independent expenditures” doesn’t mean PACs are not contributing directly to Flake and Carmona’s campaign, but the PACs cannot give more than $5,000 to a candidate per election cycle.  

If a PAC wants to have a major impact on a race, the easiest route is through buying TV ad time or sending out mailers through these “independent expenditures.”

Through Aug. 8 — the most recent filing deadline — Flake had taken in $747,000 from “other committees,” which is mostly PACs. Carmona had brought in $363,600 from those groups.

Through that date, Carmona had $1.75 million in his coffers - $49,000 more than Flake. The next filing deadline for Flake and Carmona is Oct. 15.

The general election is Nov. 6. Early ballots go out on Oct. 11.

 Stay tuned to the Pueblo Politics blog throughout 2012 for news, updates and information about Arizona politics. You can follow Arizona Daily Star reporters Brady McCombs, Becky Pallack and Tim Steller on Twitter.