Republicans Closing the Money Gap—and It's Showing in the Polls

(AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

It appears that Republican mega-donors have finally begun to loosen the purse strings over the last month and Democrats are being swamped in the fundraising race.


Democrats in a dozen-and-a-half swing House districts are panicking over the hundreds of millions of dollars of outside money pouring into races featuring vulnerable GOP incumbents. And the national Democratic Party can send very little.

National Democratic organizations aren’t airing TV ads in six of the 14 Republican-held districts that went for Biden in 2020. Many of those districts, like the seat held by retiring congresswoman Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, will be sacrificed because the national party just doesn’t have the cash.

“I know with every bone in my body that [Kristen] Engel will win this district if we can get DCCC investing sooner,” Kirkpatrick told Politico. National Republicans have spent over $1.3 million so far on TV there. “I understand the impossible decisions they have to make each cycle but coming in late and undervaluing this race is a huge mistake. This is a seat we keep blue if we go big now.”

House Democrats’ panic has escalated this month as GOP outside groups continued to smash fundraising records. Despite high candidate fundraising, Democrats have been unable to respond with the same volume of money, and the party has struggled to free up the resources to attack potentially endangered Republican incumbents — a crucial part of their strategy, since they need to offset expected losses in more conservative Democratic-held districts.

Democrats currentlyhave just a 5-seat majority and already seem to be abandoning some tough seats that their incumbents currently hold in Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas and Michigan.

“The No. 1 factor here is money,” said Tim Persico, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


Democrats find themselves in the awkward position of having to defend far more vulnerable seats than Republicans. This has the national campaign groups stretched thin. It means that despite the fact that Democrats have actually outraised Republicans, the GOP is wiping out Democrats in swing districts and key Senate races with a late fundraising push that is leaving Democrats in the dust.

Altogether, national Democratic groups aren’t airing TV ads in six of the 14 Republican-held districts that went for Biden in 2020 — seats that are among the most important to contest. That includes the district represented by Garcia, who won in 2020 by 333 votes.

On top of that, Republican outside spending is forcing Democrats to divert precious resources to what should be safe blue districts. Democrats’ top super PAC this week slashed a planned TV blitz in Los Angeles, which could have targeted [Mike] Garcia, and Tucson, where [Kristen] Engel is running, to redeploy the money elsewhere.

This will be one of the most expensive off-year elections in American history, with the parties and individual candidates spending upwards of $10 billion before it’s all over. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the top House GOP super PAC, just announced their spending passed the $200 million mark. They’re putting that money into races that will make the difference between a GOP majority of fewer than ten seats to a Republican majority of 25 seats or more.


Democrats are scrambling to limit their losses but just don’t have the cash to spread around like the GOP.


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