The Real Party of the RichPosted: March 5, 2015
Back in October, Fred Barnes wrote: Democratic senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina was pounded last winter and spring in TV ads by conservative groups for having voted for Obamacare and echoed President Obama’s false claim that people could keep their current health insurance. “They had her on the ropes,” says Marc Rotterman, a Republican consultant in North Carolina.
Then Senate Majority PAC, Harry Reid’s personal political action committee, intervened. Its television spots defended Hagan and attacked Thom Tillis, her Republican challenger, for supposedly dubious ethics. This was only the beginning. By last week, Reid’s PAC had spent $9 million to boost Hagan’s reelection. And Hagan’s candidacy was saved from an early, and possibly fatal, tailspin.
“Outside spending by groups—mostly super-PACs—that disclose their donors… is dominated by the left.”
Hagan has outraised Tillis, the state house speaker, $19.2 million to $4.8 million. But that’s only one measure of her money advantage. Liberal and Democratic groups have devoted $26.3 million to going after Tillis—a chunk of it on ads while he was still running in the Republican primary—and another $4 million touting her. Conservative and Republican groups were unable to neutralize the anti-Tillis barrage. They’ve spent $17.3 million against Hagan and $10.9 million to promote Tillis. In overall campaign spending, Hagan tops Tillis by $53.7 million to $33 million. This, however, doesn’t count undisclosed millions in “issue ads” criticizing Hagan by Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group.
The result: Hagan, a mediocre candidate at best, led Tillis in polls for months. Only in mid-October, with spending for Tillis finally matching that for Hagan, has the race tightened. He was ahead by a percentage point or two in several recent polls. Still, Hagan felt confident enough of winning to skip a scheduled debate with Tillis last week.
The North Carolina campaign is a reflection of what’s happened in many of the competitive Senate races. The political fundamentals favor Republicans. President Obama is so unpopular that Democratic candidates avoid mentioning his name, much less inviting him to appear at their campaign events or in their TV spots. Meanwhile, the economy is stagnant. Foreign policy failures continue to stack up. America’s global influence fades. Two-thirds of Americans are pessimistic about the country’s future. Democrats have few national issues they’re comfortable talking about.
Yet they have one significant asset: money, lots and lots of money. It’s this advantage, more than any other factor, that has prevented a Republican wave from developing. It has kept vulnerable candidates like Hagan from falling far behind. And rather than building up their own candidates, it has allowed Democrats to concentrate on negative TV ads assaulting Republicans and bankrolling costly Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.
The Democratic congressional campaign committees, Senate and House, are outspending their Republican counterparts. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) projects they will spend $427 million by Election Day to $330.9 million by the GOP committees. The Republican National Committee, in contrast, is expected by CRP to outspend the Democratic National Committee in the midterm election cycle by $169 million to $155 million.
The Democratic edge in spending, especially in key Senate races, belies one of the party’s prominent campaign themes….(read more)
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- The Cory Gardner Formula for GOP Success (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Money in politics takeaways from the 2014 midterm elections (capitolcityproject.com)
- GOP freshman Thom Tillis not sure restaurants should be required to make employees wash hands (upi.com)
- Clinton’s speeches inspire gifts, gratitude and potential conflicts (mcclatchydc.com)
- Following the Money in Politics Might Get Tougher in Colorado (publicnewsservice.org)
- Capitol Hill Buzz: GOP, Dems raise cash for ’16 House races (chippewa.com)