18 September 2012

Independent Spending Favors Republicans

Independent Spending Favors Republicans

National Journal

Reid Wilson


Having trouble keeping track of all those independent expenditure dollars? A million here, a million there, and soon you're talking about real money, after all.

But for those keeping score at home, a review of independent expenditure filings made with the Federal Election Commission shows independent groups that back Republican candidates for House and Senate have spent almost twice as much as groups that back Democrats. It's an early hint of the spending onslaught Democrats have been warning of, and a sign that Republicans will vastly outspend their Democratic rivals over the next seven weeks.

All told, the six groups spending most heavily on down-ballot Republican candidates have doled out about $15.5 million since September 1, while the four groups backing Democratic candidates have dished out just shy of $9 million, according to the filings.

The National Republican Congressional Committee leads the way; so far the committee's independent expenditure unit has dropped $8.5 million on television, mail and polling in 30 districts, stretching from Arizona to New York and California to Georgia. The YG Action Fund, a group run by two former aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, has dropped another $1.9 million on three districts since the beginning of the month, and the American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund has added another $970,000.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added $3.75 million in spending across 19 districts so far in September, while the House Majority PAC, run by several former DCCC aides, has spent $2.24 million of their own money.

On the Senate side, Republicans also hold an advantage. Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the 501(c)(4) wing of the Crossroads family, has spent $2.66 million on advertising in Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and North Dakota so far this month, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee has dropped $1.45 million in Montana, Maine and North Dakota.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has spent $2.5 million on advertising in Connecticut, Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana and North Dakota since the beginning of the month. Majority PAC, run by a former DSCC executive director, has spent another $500,000 on its own advertising.

The figures only reflect money that has actually been spent on advertising and paid voter contact so far this month. It does not include money the two sides have spent to reserve airtime over the next seven weeks. The Congressional Leadership Fund and the American Action Network, for example, have together reserved more than $7 million in advertisements set to run before Election Day, but that amount hasn't actually been spent, so it doesn't show up in the data yet.

But the early spending hints at a big Republican advantage to come. The NRCC ended the month of July with about a $12 million cash-on-hand advantage over the DCCC (though the DCCC bought plenty of television time earlier in the year), and outside Republican groups are planning to spend the bulk of their cash in October.

The list of districts in which the NRCC has spent money so far: AZ 01 (Open), CA 24 (Dem, Rep. Lois Capps), CA 26 (Open), CA 52 (GOP, Rep. Brian Bilbray), GA 12 (Dem, Rep. John Barrow), IA 01 (Dem, Rep. Bruce Braley), IA 02 (Dem, Rep. Dave Loebsack), IA 03 (Reps. Leonard Boswelland Tom Latham), IA 04 (GOP, Rep. Steve King), IL 12 (Open), IL 13 (Open), IL 17 (GOP, Rep.Bobby Schilling), KY 06 (Dem, Rep. Ben Chandler), MI 01 (GOP, Rep. Dan Benishek), MN 08 (GOP, Rep. Chip Cravaack), NC 07 (Dem, Rep. Mike McIntyre), NC 08 (Dem, Rep. Larry Kissell), NV 03 (GOP, Rep. Joe Heck), NV 04 (Open), NY 18 (GOP, Rep. Nan Hayworth), NY 19 (GOP, Rep.Chris Gibson), NY 21 (Dem, Rep. Bill Owens), NY 24 (GOP, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle), OH 06 (GOP, Rep. Bill Johnson), PA 12 (Dem, Rep. Mark Critz), TX 23 (GOP, Rep. Quico Canseco), UT 04 (Dem, Rep. Jim Matheson), WI 07 (GOP, Rep. Sean Duffy), WI 08 (GOP, Rep. Reid Ribble), WV 03 (Dem, Rep. Nick Rahall).

The list of districts in which the DCCC has spent money since Sept. 1: AZ 01 (Open), CA 10 (GOP, Rep.Jeff Denham), CA 52 (GOP, Rep. Brian Bilbray), CT 05 (Open), GA 12 (Dem, Rep. John Barrow), IL 12 (Open), IL 13 (Open), IL 17 (GOP, Rep. Bobby Schilling), MI 01 (GOP, Rep. Dan Benishek), MN 08 (GOP, Rep. Chip Cravaack), NC 07 (Dem, Rep. Mike McIntyre), NV 03 (GOP, Rep. Joe Heck), NY 19 (GOP., Rep. Chris Gibson), NY 24 (GOP, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle), OH 06 (GOP, Rep. Bill Johnson), OH 16 (Reps. Jim Renacci and Betty Sutton), PA 12 (Dem, Rep. Mark Critz), TX 23 (GOP, Rep. Quico Canseco), WI 07 (GOP, Rep. Sean Duffy).

Courtney Parella

Communications Director