It’s that time of year: The party committees are hitting the airwaves, joining candidates and super PACs on TV. The NRCC and DCCC got into the act today in three of this cycle’s most interesting GOP-held seats. — Republican strategists consistently cite FL-02‘s Gwen Graham (D) as the top Democratic challenger of the cycle, and now the NRCC is making her the first target of its fall independent expenditure program. One of Graham’s strengths is her lack of a political record, but that didn’t stop the NRCC from connecting her to Obamacare and Nancy Pelosi. That’s been the GOP playbook against outsider Democrats for the past few elections, with mixed results. — Meanwhile, House Democrats headed to the northeast to launch their IE program. The DCCC isn’t running ads against indicted Rep. Michael Grimm (R) to run up the score; this race is far from over despite the Republican’s legal troubles. That’s partly because those troubles haven’t sank in yet in the crowded NYC media market, which is what the DCCC is going to spend its time and money on while Domenic Recchia (D) tries to overcome the gap between Staten Island, which dominates the district, and his hometown Brooklyn. — In NJ-03, a district with a long stretch of coastline affected by Superstorm Sandy, the DCCC is picking up where Tom MacArthur‘s (R) primary opponent left off, hitting MacArthur as a disaster insurance profiteer. The expensive Philadelphia media market proved too costly for the DCCC to make a worthwile TV investment there last cycle, but open NJ-03 is proving too enticing an opportunity to pass up, even though MacArthur’s personal money gives him an advantage in the race. (Unless the DCCC turns it into a weakness, that is.) Though all 3 target districts are GOP-held, the IE campaigns will soon expand into many Democratic seats. And this committee activity applies to the Senate, too: The NRSC released a new spot in Georgia today linking Michelle Nunn (D) and President Obama, and it’s set to begin advertising in Iowa in two weeks, following the DSCC into the race. Around the country, in the House and the Senate, the general election is truly here.— Scott Bland
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