Senate Dems Prepare for a Red Ride – of Money

Senate Dems Prepare for a Red Ride – of Money

Senate Democrats are coming off a summer rally, winning legislation on everything from climate to gun safety as their candidates outperformed and outraged Republicans on key battlegrounds. Now comes the post-Labor Day GOP increase.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC aligned with minority leader Mitch McConnell, is expected to reduce the financial disparities that currently hold back his party in its bid to retake the Senate. The super PAC has more than $160 million in advertising on the books for the post-Labor Day crisis, according to AdImpact — just the beginning of a cash blitz that is about to diminish the financial advantage that Democratic candidates enjoy. 18 months ago.

It’s a repeat of the 2020 take, when the GOP PAC successfully raised funds and rained ads on Democratic Senate candidates that helped avert a complete Republican meltdown, though the chamber still narrowly turned. And Democrats hope this year’s polls will be tight enough to make every race difficult.

“All of these will be air combat for the last two months,” said former Senate Democratic Campaign Committee adviser Justin Barasky. “Republican money is coming. We always knew it was going to happen, because it always does. It doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with, but it’s not unexpected.”

To some extent, Democrats have set their own high expectations for what they see as weak GOP candidates, an improving political climate and a surprisingly productive legislative summer.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer channeled those good vibes in an interview earlier this month: “I think we’re going to win seats,” he said, adding that voters “see Republicans as MAGA Republicans, very far to the right. And now we’ve shown that we can actually do something.”

Still, with a GOP storm brewing, the Democratic campaign arm of the Senate is urging its candidates to continue to outpace their Republican opponents in individual fundraising. The candidates themselves get better ad rates than super PACs, meaning the Democrats’ best bet to neutralize the McConnell-backed group is to stick with large numbers of senators like Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Raphael Warnock ( D-Ga.).

DSCC spokesman David Bergstein said the committee views this fall’s top contests as “margin of error” contests, despite polls showing Kelly and John Fetterman of Pennsylvania in double figures. Bergstein added that the committee knows that “each of our battlefield runs will be very competitive, that the spending disparity on the Senate map will be tight.”

“Republicans have put themselves in an extremely difficult position, coming into the final months of the election, but we have no illusions that they will have significant resources to spend,” Bergstein said. “We will need to be prepared for our campaigns to continue to have an extremely strong presence in paid media when this Republican spending spree hits.”

Right now, Democratic candidates are holding their own despite President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire. In addition, Senate party candidates are threatening to win seats in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania while possibly marching even deeper into Republican territory.

That was thanks to Democratic candidates spending early and often to stay afloat during the eventful past few months, prompting the Republican National Senatorial Committee to spend $42 million. Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the NRSC, said his organization went early “to define the Democrats and their radical agenda. Democrats have spent tens of millions in every state on the map, only to be in exactly the same weak position they were in a year ago.”

The NRSC now has $23 million on hand after this blitz, about $30 million less than the DSCC. The McConnell-backed super PAC must now shoulder the brunt of the party’s spending in recent weeks.

“Congratulations to the Democrats for spending the summer covering the airwaves,” said Jack Pandol, spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund. This fall, he added, “SLF and Republican candidates will be furiously litigating Democratic Senate candidates’ support of Biden’s toxic agenda.”

Right now, the GOP’s biggest strengths are in the Democratic outreach states that Republicans need to take away from the council.

Ohio Representative Tim Ryan is close enough to Republican candidate JD Vance to provoke a $28 million SLF intervention that will end up flooding the Democrat with nearly $10 million after Labor Day, based on current reserves. . Cheri Beasley is closing ground against Representative Ted Budd (RN.C.), even though Republicans are currently slated to spend more than 25 million Democrats in North Carolina in the post-Labor Day period, almost entirely due to the super PAC GOP.

Due in large part to the PAC’s $28 million in Pennsylvania fall reserves, Republicans can keep pace with Fetterman, a prolific fundraiser, and his Democratic allies. Republican candidate Mehmet Oz trails in every public poll and needs all the help he can get, with the Republican PAC adding an extra three weeks of summer ad purchases to help stem the bleeding.

And while there are fewer polls in Wisconsin, incumbent Republican Senator Ron Johnson is losing early to Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes. As things stand, Republican groups are slated to spend a little more than Democratic groups this fall in Badger State.

Meanwhile, the Schumer-aligned Senate majority PAC is also increasing its spending as the map freezes. The group initially set aside $106 million in major battlegrounds in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, then added $27 million in additional reserves.

The Schumer-backed PAC also began spending this summer in North Carolina ahead of the massive Republican reservation there, though it didn’t set aside ad time there after Labor Day, according to AdImpact. Veronica Yoo, a spokeswoman for the PAC Majority Senate, said her group is “committed to ensuring that Democrats have the resources” they need.

“The fact that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Leadership Fund and their right-wing allies are being forced to shell out tens of millions of dollars in defense is testament to the strength of our Democratic candidates,” Yoo said.

Even the Republican super PAC, which can receive unlimited donations, is unable to hold its own in Nevada and Arizona, where Democratic groups and candidates currently have reservations that outnumber the GOP by a margin of two to one right now. The SLF has yet to commit in New Hampshire, giving the Democrats a head start of more than $10 million.

And in Georgia, Democrats have a head start on spending in the race between Warnock and GOP candidate Herschel Walker, a former football star anointed by former President Donald Trump who has struggled on the trail. Warnock was about $15 million more than Walker at the end of the latest reporting period, enough for him to spend $3 million a week from his own campaign on ads. The McConnell-backed super PAC is spending $5 million a week in Georgia, part of a $39 million takedown strategy in the country.

Republicans only need to win one seat to win back the Senate, which many in the party say is still possible, even as they grimace at the performance of some candidates. Both parties also looked to expand the mid-term map beyond the six main battlefield states; Barasky said GOP-controlled Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, as well as Democrat-controlled Colorado, will be fiercely competitive as GOP candidates in recent weeks.

“There have been enough alarms on the Republican side about the money,” Barasky added. “I can only assume they will get better. In many cases, they don’t need it because they can count on the millions they have in foreign money.”

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