What do you do in the face of a hurricane? Hunker down or get out. Democrats appear to be doing both, according to National Journal’s Hotline:
Where the DCCC didn’t spend money is as indicative as where it did. With two weeks to go, Democrats are using their checkbooks as acknowledgement that nearly a dozen members are beyond saving.
The DCCC did not spend money on behalf of Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio), Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.), Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.), Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Steve Kagen (D-Wis.), the filings show. Republicans believe those seven seats are all but guaranteed to fall their way.
Even in some races where Democrats did spend money, their advertising indicates little more than a token effort at salvaging seats that are also likely to fall to the GOP. The DCCC is spending just $30,000 for Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), who polls show trailing ex-Rep.Steve Chabot (R) by wide margins. That follows reports that the DCCC was pulling out of Driehaus’ district.
Democrats are only spending $42,000 on behalf of Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Texas), who trails businessman Bill Flores (R) in most polling. Rep. Jim Marshall (D), a perpetually vulnerable incumbent in a deeply conservative district in southern Georgia, is getting just $9,000 in assistance, likely for radio advertising, as he faces state Rep. Austin Scott (R). And Rep.John Hall (D-NY), who faces a surprisingly stiff challenge in ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth(R), will benefit from just $83,000 in advertising this week.
Sometimes pulling ads means that the race has already been secured for the Democrat, Reid Wilson says, but then points to razor-close races in Arizona as an example. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords face two tough opponents and have been skewered in Arizona over immigration-enforcement issues in districts that are more Republican than Democrat, at least in the case of Giffords (R+4; Grijalva’s is D+6, hardly safe this year). Walking away from Grijalva and Giffords while outside organizations like American Crossroads buys air time sounds a lot like surrender than a vote of confidence in the incumbents, but could also be a qualified bet that the funds needed to shore up the two Arizona districts might be spent more effectively elsewhere.
So where is the money going? Oddly, over $300,000 will go to defend Phil Hare, who looks in even more serious trouble in Illinois than Kagen does in Wisconsin or Murphy does in Pennsylvania, at least according to the latest surveys from The Hill. The $631,000 effort to win back Mark Kirk’s old House seat makes more sense, but will the DCCC really have that much trouble winning a D+6 seat in a district where the Republican incumbent is running for another office? They’re also spending $450,000 on Brian Baird’s old seat, where Jaime Herrera has a double-digit lead over Democrat Denny Heck in the latest Survey USA poll.
The Democrats can’t find their firewall, and they’re desperately reconsidering triage in the final two weeks of the cycle. Anyone having their ads pulled now won’t see them again, either. In this last fortnight, all non-sales are final.