Republicans are starting to panic. Progressive enthusiasm is driving small-dollar donations at an unprecedented rate, giving Democratic candidates a sizable spending edge. According to a “competitive summary” compiled by GOP insiders, Democratic candidates are poised to drop some $50 million more in ads than their Republican opponents in about 70 of the most competitive House races.
In terms of television and radio advertising, Democratic candidates are expecting to spend almost $50 million more than their Republican counterparts in about 70 top House races, according to a spreadsheet of ad reservations across the country.
That deficit has sent operatives at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and GOP Congressional Leadership Fund scrambling to make up the difference. The projected spending of the CLF Super PAC is already outpacing its Democratic counterparts by $35 million ($140 million to $105 million). Still, CLF director Corry Bliss warned in a recent memo to high-dollar donors, “The GOP is now facing a green wave, not a blue wave.”
The problem for Republicans is that campaigns have a lot more buying power than PACs do because they can buy ads at far cheaper rates. The Washington Post writes:
Some 60 Democrats raised more than $1 million in the third quarter, a big number for House races, but 30 of those raised more than $2 million and eight raised more than $3 million — those are levels usually reached by statewide candidates for Senate or governor.
Republican casino mogul Sheldon Adelson clearly heard Bliss’s call, funneling tens of millions more dollars into the GOP war chest during the final push to November.
It’s truly a matter of grassroots enthusiasm vs. billionaire buying power in these final weeks—and grassroots enthusiasm is giving those billionaires a run for their money.