If the Democrats manage to retake the House of Representatives in November, one alone thing may be responsible for the victory: A huge advantage in resources.
A report from Politico published Friday noted the massive amounts of money that the Democrats had amassed and the spending gap the party had opened in key House races.
“Since the end of July, Republican candidates in the 70 most contested races have reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democratic hopefuls, according to figures compiled by media trackers and reviewed by POLITICO,” the article from Alex Isenstadt stated.
“The disparity is almost certain to grow, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes good on plans to spend nearly $80 million to help Democrats flip the House.”
This has led to several pleas for cash. One has come from various Republican figures to Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino tycoon who has provided significant donations to the GOP in the past.
The 85-year-old Adelson has reportedly made a donation in the neighborhood of $20 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican-aligned super PAC, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, the GOP’s super PAC director in the House, Corry Bliss, has also been meeting with top donors and lobbyists.
Politico reported that on Thursday, Bliss “invited about 50 top Beltway lobbyists to his downtown Washington office to make a plea for cash. Bliss walked the group through polling in top races and made the case that the GOP is making late gains.”
“But the party’s biggest hurdle is money, he said,” according to Politico. “Bliss told the group that Republicans are facing a ‘green wave’ and that he’s trying to raise another $20 million.”
In addition to Adelson and Beltway GOP figures, the National Republican Congressional Committee is also expected to obtain a loan to help them blitz House races in the past few weeks.
Despite all of the big money, Republican lobbyist Charlie Black told Politico that online donations are fueling the efforts of both sides — with President Donald Trump being the prime catalyst.
“We’re raising more money than we usually do on our side, and they’re raising more than they ever do and it’s because of Trump,” Black told Politico. “He’s the great motivator.”
Brian Walsh, president of pro-Trump super PAC America First Action, put it more bluntly.
“From Democrat candidates to outside groups, we’ve never seen anything like this before,” Walsh said. “They are dumping in cash by the truckload.”
While small donations have also helped lead to record war chests for Democrats in senatorial campaigns, they haven’t made as much of an impact as in the House. In fact, Rep. Beto O’Rourke actually finds himself in hot water for raising too much down in Texas.
On Friday, The New York Times published a piece noting that several Democrat operatives weren’t terribly happy that O’Rourke had raised $38 million in a race where his chances of defeating incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz seem to be dwindling with each passing day. That money, Democrats argued, could have been distributed to other close races where Democrats have a better chance of winning.
“It’s great that O’Rourke has inspired so many people and raised so much money, and if he can spend it all effectively in Texas, he is well within his rights to do so,” Democrat strategist Matthew Miller told The Times. “But he could have a huge impact for the party by sharing some of it with the DSCC so it could be spent in states where candidates just need a little extra to get over the hump.
“It will be bad for everyone, Beto included, if he finishes his race with money in the bank when that money could’ve helped elect Democrats in Missouri, Tennessee or North Dakota.”
Republicans, of course, have other assets, including Trump’s star power. The president has been making appearances at campaign rallies around the country, including one Saturday in Kentucky, where he was joined by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell himself isn’t up for election this year, but his position as majority leader depends on Republicans maintaining control of the upper chamber in November.
In the House, the recriminations seem to be heavier on the other side of the aisle. In addition to Republicans blaming the NRCC for its comparative lack of prowess in fundraising, they also say that the House GOP has spent too much money on the campaign of Rep. Barbara Comstock in northern Virginia. Over $5 million has been poured into keeping a seat where Comstock has been consistently behind, according to Real Clear Politics polling averages.
As for the Congressional Leadership Fund, others have blamed it for spending money too early in the campaign cycle, particularly before the Democrats’ candidates were actually finalized.
“When you’re dealing with challengers, they’re generally unknown until late in the election cycle. Being able to define the race early is important when you’re dealing with a challenging election climate,” former GOP Rep. Mike Ferguson of New Jersey, now a lobbyist who attended the meeting with Corry Bliss, told Politico.
“You’re going to be less at the mercy of the environment when time is running out.”
Now that time’s running out, however, none of this can be undone. For rank-and-file conservatives, there are two things they can do in order to close the gap: Donate and vote.
Not everyone is in a position to donate, but there’s no excuse for not voting.
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