Senate Democrats brace for red-silver wave

“It’s all going to be dogfights over the last two months,” said former Democratic Senate campaign committee adviser Justin Barasky. “Republican money is coming. We always knew it was okay, because it still is. That’s not to say it’s easy to manage, but it’s not unexpected.

To some extent, Democrats are setting their own high expectations on 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 like MAGA Republicans, far right. And now we have shown that we can actually do something.

Still, with a GOP storm coming, the Senate Democratic campaign arm is pushing its candidates to continue to outpace their Republican opponents in individual fundraising. Candidates themselves get better ad rates than super PACs, which means Democrats’ best bet to blunt the McConnell-backed group is to keep big numbers from senators like Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) and Raphael Warnock. (D-Ga.).

DSCC spokesman David Bergstein said the committee viewed this fall’s grassroots races as “margin of error” contests, despite polls showing Pennsylvania’s Kelly and John Fetterman in double digits. Bergstein added that the committee knows that “every one of our battlefield races is going to be very competitive, that the spending disparity on the Senate map is going to get tighter.”

“Republicans have put themselves in an extremely difficult position heading into the final months of the election, but we have no doubt they will have significant resources to spend,” Bergstein said. “We’re going to have to be prepared for our campaigns so that we can continue to have an extremely strong paid media presence when this wave of Republican spending comes around.”

For now, Democratic incumbents are holding their ground despite President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings in Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and New Hampshire. In addition, the party’s Senate candidates are threatening to land seats in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania while perhaps pushing even deeper into GOP territory.

It happened thanks to Democratic candidates spending early and often to stay afloat over the past turbulent months, prompting the Republican National Senate Committee to spend $42 million. Chris Hartline, spokesman for the NRSC, said his organization moved early “to define Democrats and their radical agenda. Democrats have spent tens of millions in every state on the map, only to find themselves in exactly the same weak spot they were a year ago.

The NRSC now has $23 million in reserve after this blitz, about $30 million less than the DSCC. The McConnell-backed super PAC is now expected to bear the brunt of the party’s spending over the past few weeks.

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

Right now, the GOP’s greatest advantages lie in Democratic-reach states that Republicans must remove from the board.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is close enough to GOP candidate J.D. Vance to spark a Intervention of 28 million dollars by SLF that will end up flooding the Democrat with nearly $10 million after Labor Day, based on current reserves. Cheri Beasley is closing in on Rep. Ted Budd (RN.C.), though Republicans are currently expected to spend more than $25 million over North Carolina Democrats after Labor Day, almost entirely due to the US super PAC. GOP.

Thanks in large part to $28 million in PAC fall bookings in Pennsylvania, Republicans may be able to keep pace with prolific fundraiser Fetterman and his Democratic allies. Mehmet Oz, GOP candidate trailed in all public polls and needs all the help it can get, with the Republican PAC adding three more weeks of summer ad buys to help stave off the bleeding.

And though there are fewer polls in Wisconsin, its incumbent GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is trailing early against Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes. As it stands, GOP groups are expected to edge out Democratic groups this fall in Badger State.

The Schumer-aligned Senate Majority PAC, meanwhile, is also increasing its spending as the map gels. The group initially booked $106 million in major battlegrounds Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, then added another $27 million in bookings.

The Schumer-backed PAC also began airing this summer in North Carolina ahead of massive Republican booking there, though there was no booked ad time after Labor Day, according to AdImpact. Veronica Yoo, spokeswoman for the Senate Majority PAC, 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 for defense speaks to the strength of our Democratic candidates,” Yoo said.

Even the Republican super PAC, which can accept unlimited donations, is unable to keep pace in Nevada and Arizona, where Democratic groups and candidates currently have reservations outpacing the GOP by a two-to-one margin at the moment. SLF has yet to make a commitment in New Hampshire, giving Democrats an advantage of more than $10 million.

And in Georgia, Democrats have an early budget advantage in the race between Warnock and GOP nominee Herschel Walker, a former football star anointed by former President Donald Trump who struggled on the trail. Warnock had about $15 million more than Walker at the end of the last reporting period, allowing him to spend $3 million a week of his own campaign on ads. The McConnell-backed super PAC is spending $5 million a week in Georgia, part of a $39 million fall spending strategy.

Republicans only need to win a seat to win back the Senate, which many party members say is still achievable even if they wince at the performance of some candidates. Both sides also sought to expand the medium-term map beyond the six main battleground states; Barasky said GOP-held Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, as well as Democratic-held Colorado, will all be very competitive as GOP candidates up their game in recent weeks.

“There has been enough alarm on the Republican side about the money,” Barasky added. “I can only assume they will improve. In many cases they don’t need it because they can rely on the millions they have in outside money.

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