House Republicans are planning a $22 million ad blitz this fall, targeting 39 vulnerable House Democrats. The initiative is clearly aimed at the surging GOP's ultimate goal to regain control of Congress.
It's also a response to a new push from congressional Democrats to shore up the party's electoral standing. The move comes just a few weeks after House Democrats announced a nearly $50 million ad campaign. But there is a significant difference in the two parties' strategies: The GOP is, so far, devoting most of its money to targeting Democrats; Dems, meanwhile, are looking to play defense, reserving airtime in districts currently held by the party.
As Politico's Alex Isenstadt reports, the GOP plans to go after Democrats in GOP-friendly districts throughout the South and in battleground states like Indiana, Ohio, and Colorado. While the NRCC has not technically reserved airtime yet — a GOP source tells The Upshot that move will come "soon" — the initial list includes embattled freshmen, including Rep. Travis Childers of Mississippi, together with some long-entrenched incumbents, including Reps. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin of South Dakota and Leonard Boswell of Iowa. (You can see the full list of targeted Democrats here, courtesy of The Hotline.) Most of these lawmakers are on the list of DCCC-targeted districts announced last month.
The GOP's more selective strategy is, in part, the brainchild of necessity; Republicans have far less money in the bank than Democrats. As of its last filing with the Federal Election Commission, the National Republican Congressional Committee reported just $17 million cash on hand, compared with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's $34 million. But that cash gap doesn't mean the GOP is at a major disadvantage here. While the Republican Party brass is not legally allowed to coordinate with outside campaign groups, the party is depending heavily on spending from some well-funded outside organizations, like the Karl Rove-connected group American Crossroads, to bridge the money gap with Dems.
(Photo of John Boehner by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)