DCCC Targeting And Expediture Strategies Just Do Not Add Up
Chances are slim that you saw Shira Toeplitz's Roll Call post yesterday, Triage Looms Over Campaigns. Pure Beltway hackishness... from someone who can do better. The idea is that the all-knowing and all-powerful heads of the NRCC and DCCC take on their shoulders the onerous task of deciding who's going to win and who's going to lose and then make the tough decisions about who to back financially. Like so much of Roll Call it sounds like it was put together by the publicists of the DCCC and NRCC. Very large sums of money are already being allocated and reallocated but, according to this story, only for the purest and most mathematical of reasons.
In the coming weeks, the national party committees will decide which races are deemed winnable and merit their resources-- resources Members themselves donated and helped raise-- and which should be abandoned.
...Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee shifted a week's worth of airtime from Rep. Larry Kissell's (D-N.C.) uphill re-election bid to target Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.). House Democrats did not cut off Kissell completely, but the move signals that the DCCC believes its funds are better spent on other races.
There's more of that to come in October, and it won't be pretty.
The DCCC reserved $61.7 million in airtime across 41 districts through Election Day. The NRCC reserved less airtime, $43.8 million, and is currently on the air in 35 districts.
Those reservations will shift frequently between districts as parties cross non-competitive or hopeless races off their lists.
Currently, committee staffs are poring over data daily, including polling, finance reports and media buys, to determine the state of every race in lengthy "around the world" meetings.
"The overriding question is, 'Can we win?'" said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), a former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman in 2008 and 2010. "You have to allocate resources to maximize the number of seats you win-- and that does require some tough decisions."
In the 2010 cycle the DCCC spent $163,582,280. These were the big bets these dispassionate statisticians made-- the 29 races where they spent a minimum of a million dollars on Independent Expenditures. These were all for TV and radio ads opposing the following Republicans:
• Rick Crawford (AR-01) on behalf of Blue Dog challenger Chad Causey- $1,771,179
• Robert Dold (IL-10) on behalf of New Dem challenger Dan Seals- $1,746,826
• Jaime Beutler (WA-03) on behalf of New Dem challenger Denny Heck- $1,728,127
• Harold Johnson (NC-08) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Larry Kissell- $1,705,393
• Tim Burns (PA-12) on behalf of ultra-reactionary Rep. Marc Critz-,$1,609,853
• Keith Fimian (VA-11) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly- $1,605,028
• Andy Harris (MD-01) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Frank Kratovil- $1,529,305
• Bob Gibbs (OH-18) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Zach Space- $1,512,697
• Jim Renacci (OH-16) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. John Boccieri- $1,449,105
• Jeff Perry (MA-10) on behalf of challenger Bill Keating $1,433,412
• David Rivera (FL-25) on behalf of challenger Joe Garcia- $1,422,235
• Martha Roby (AL-02) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Bobby Bright- $1,411,243
• Tim Walberg (MI-07) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Mark Schauer- $1,388,063
• Joe Heck (NV-03) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Dina Titus- $1,382,353
• Todd Young (IN-09) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Baron Hill- $1,376,745
• Dan Benishek (MI-01) on behalf of conservative challenger Jason Allen-$1,319,440
• Rep. Charles Djou (HI-01) on behalf of New Dem challenger Colleen Hanabusa- $1,304,284
• Randy Hultgren (IL-14) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Bill Foster- $1,303,014
• David McKinley (WV-01) on behalf of rabid Blue Dog challenger Mike Oliviero- $1,264,732
• Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Ike Skelton- $1,247,956
• Scott Bruun (OR-05) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Kurt Schader- $1,247,472
• Scott Tipton (CO-03) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. John Salazar- $1,192,722
• Mick Mulvaney (SC-05) on behalf of New Dem Rep. John Spratt- $1,124,027
• David Schweikert (AZ-05) on behalf of Blue Dog Rep. Harry Mitchell- $1,094,545
• Bobby Schilling (IL-17) on behalf of progressive Rep. Phil Hare- $1,067,806
• Paul Gosar (AZ-01) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick- $1,056,845
• David Harmer (CA-11) on behalf of Rep. Jerry McNerney- $1,031,192
• Sean Duffy (WI-07) on behalf of New Dem challenger Julie Lassa- $1,017,175
• Richard Hanna (NY-24) on behalf of New Dem Rep. Michael Arcuri- $1,008,039
There were another 26 Republicans the DCCC spent between half a million and a million on and the patterns are identical to the ones above-- as are the catastrophic rates of losses. They spent an awful lot of money and won 7 of the 29 top races, a dismal performance. Of the 29 races by the end of the cycle Cook, Rothenberg, Sabato and Real Clear Politics had all rated the #1 race the DCCC spent on, Blue Dog Chad Causey's "Leans Republican." Of the 29 races, Real Clear Politics had rated 17 Leans Republican" and 12 as "Tossup." Perhaps Roll Call should have asked the DCCC to justify that kind of spending on that kind of record of losers. And if they claim they just do it by the math... maybe some remedial courses are in order... for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
At nine this evening (PT) we're going to take one of those contested districts from 2010 and catch up with the DCCC and check their math this cycle. It's not this race in NY though, the one that saw Chris Gibson beat conservative New Dem freshman Scott Murphy. (The New Dems gave Murphy $20,000 and the Blue Dogs gave him $15,000.) This year New Dem Julian Schreibman is trying to win the seat back for the Democrats by taking on Gibson. Redistricted (and renumbered the 19th CD from the 20th), it's a district in which Obama would have beaten McCain 53-45%. Although things are looking up for more and more Democrats across the country, that isn't the case here. A brand new Siena poll shows Schreibman losing by a massive 16 points. Gibson is backed by 52% of the voters, Schreibman 36% and 11% are undecided. Obama leads Romney 49-45% in the district. The DCCC, which is aggressively ignoring progressives who are running for far more winnable seat, started running this expensive ad this week: