Saturday, October 11, 2008

Keeping our eyes all over the ticket

While Republicans have spent millions of dollars helping John McCain in his presidential campaign, Democrats have been sure to keep their eyes up and down the ticket. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Democrats hold a significant cash advantage going into Election Day in the fight for Congress.

“The Democratic money edge extends across all congressional races, but is most pronounced in House contests. Through Wednesday, the party had spent $23.5 million, compared with $1.5 million spent by national Republicans. The money is being used on television and radio advertisements, as well as direct mailings, aimed at swaying undecided voters and moving supporters to the polls.

In Senate races, Democrats have shelled out nearly twice as much -- $25.1 million compared with $13 million for Republicans.”

How are the parties prioritizing this cash?

While media buys have been an obvious and significant part of the expenditures, the DSCC, DCCC, RNSC, and RNCC have now been transferring an enormous amount to state parties for their GOTV operations.

Transfers to state parties for get-out-the-vote efforts (as of Aug. 31);
DCCC $3,767,217
DSCC $11,221,524
NRCC $10,000
NRSC $42,181
Source: Federal Election Commission

So far, the foresight to help House and Senate candidates has done the Democrats well, as many now expect major Democratic gains in Congress.

If current trends hold, the Republicans could lose 20 to 30 seats in the House, double the number anticipated last summer, several Republican strategists said. That would reduce the party's ranks to levels not seen since before it took control of the House in the "Republican Revolution" of 1994.

In the Senate, as many as eight to 10 Republican-held seats could be at risk, the strategists said. Republican stalwarts such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina are teetering. In Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who voted for Mr. Bush's financial-industry rescue plan, now is running only slightly ahead of his Democratic challenger, a former state representative with relatively little money. "We could wind up after the election back to 1992 levels," said veteran Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio.

It should be noted that the only district with a Democratic incumbent that is getting similar cash flows from both parties is where HSG’s current Race of the Week is being fought. Good luck Congressman Kagen!

If expectations are met for the Democrats, the 111th Congress will be more likely to prevent filibusters in the Senate and – should John McCain rise to the Presidency – more capable of overturning vetoes. This certainly goes to show the importance of a good fundraising operation.

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