Republicans Want to Flip the US House — And They’re Spending More Than Democrats to Do It

Republicans Want to Flip the US House — And They’re Spending More Than Democrats to Do It

(Bloomberg) — Republicans must win six seats in the November election to gain control of the US House of Representatives. With advertising spend, they beat Democrats in seven districts already leaning their way.

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In just two weeks since the Sept. 5 holiday, the traditional kickoff for November campaigns, GOP candidates and committees have racked up $33 million in ads in those races, compared to $24 million for Democrats, according to data from AdImpact, which follows political expenses. These districts, all of which were redrawn to make them more firmly Republican, are rated as lean or probably Republican by the impartial Cook Political Report.

And in most of the races that are tossed up, the Republicans are also the brawny Democrats. Of the 31 toss-up contests, Republicans pledged more ad dollars than Democrats in 18, the data shows.

While polls show Democrats are broadly gaining ground, the disparity in spending points to the difficulty of maintaining their majority in the House. They have more risk members than Republicans, who have enough money to target them.

“We’re investing heavily in the seats that will make up a new Republican majority, while Democrats spend millions on defense,” said Mike Berg, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party arm that backs the House candidates.

Republicans, too, have some ground to defend, even if they prefer to get the six seats they need to take control of the House, given historical trends. But Republican momentum, once driven by President Joe Biden’s low approval rating and inflation, has waned. The US Supreme Court ruling overturning the national right to abortion and legislative victories over progressive priorities such as tackling climate change have excited Democrats.

“Republicans are on the defensive thanks to their toxic crusade against our fundamental freedoms,” said Helen Kalla, a spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports the House candidates. “House Democrats have a strong reputation for working across the aisle to win wins for their districts.”

The seven districts where Republicans spend a lot of money include Iowa’s 3rd, where Democratic Representative Cindy Axne faces Zach Nunn, a state senator. Republicans spend Axne and Democrats $3.6 million to $3 million.

The NRCC links Axne to Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom they blame for inflation. Axne, who had placed ads positioning herself as a moderate who did not follow the party line, has begun attacking Nunn for his opposition to abortion.

In Pennsylvania, Republicans have booked $7.3 million in airtime to defeat Democratic Representative Susan Wild. Democrats, on the other hand, have set aside $5.5 million to stave off her opponent, businesswoman Lisa Scheller. As in Iowa, Republican ads emphasize inflation and her support for Pelosi and Biden, while Wild’s ads similarly say she’s bipartisan and emphasize Scheller’s anti-abortion stance.

A wave of Republican victories is far from assured. Democrats have gained a 1.1 percentage point lead in RealClearPolitics’ generic congressional vote average. In mid-March, they trailed by no less than 3.9 percentage points.

Control of the House will be determined in dozens of districts that are closely spaced — and there, too, Democrats are left behind, even though they have 23 of the 31 seats Cook considers to be toss-ups.

Collectively, Republican candidates and committees set aside $153 million for general election ads in those contests, compared to $142 million for Democrats. Democrats spend more than Republicans in just nine of them.

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