NRCC Launches Ad Blitz
The National Republican Congressional Committee filed a report detailing over $4 million in independent expenditure spending across 22 congressional districts Friday. The ad blitz -- which followed a big expenditure by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week -- was almost perfectly split between offense and defense: The NRCC targeted 11 Republican-held districts and 10 Democratic-held districts, plus the member-versus-member seat in Iowa, in its latest round of spending.
Nearly all of the districts where the NRCC is playing early offense were carried by Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential contest. But three new additions to the offense list stand out because the NRCC is going after Democrats in seats that were solidly blue four years ago. The committee is spending nearly $450,000 against Democratic Reps. Lois Capps, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack (from California's 24th District and Iowa's 1st and 2nd Districts, respectively) and hitting each of them with new ads, even though they represent seats President Obama carried with over 55 percent of the vote in 2008.
That's an important marker: While the GOP cleaned up in 2010 in districts Obama lost, winning an astounding 36 of 48, Republican House candidates only managed eight victories that year in the 173 Democratic-held seats where Obama had won 55 percent or more.
Yet even without the benefit of a Republican wave environment, the NRCC is reprising some familiar themes of 2010 to force tough races -- and maybe even a few upset victories -- in those districts. The committee's new ads against Capps and Braley accuse them of cutting Medicare by voting for Obamacare, while the anti-Loebsack ad focuses on energy, slamming his vote for the cap and trade proposal that passed the House in June 2009.
The near-constant presence of presidential candidates in Iowa affirms how competitive things are in that state even though Obama won it by more than 9 points last time, and Capps's new district is less blue and extends further inland than her old coastal seat, opening up an opportunity there.