NRCC’s Million-Dollar Race List Expands to 12

Posted October 23, 2010 at 3:01pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee has now spent more than $1 million in a dozen races, after reporting a one-day spending blitz of just under $10 million.

Prior to the latest independent expenditure reports, filed late Friday with the Federal Election Commission, the NRCC had surpassed the million-dollar mark in just two races.

The latest reports show the NRCC’s IE arm is now spending in 63 races around the country while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s IE arm is spending in 65 races. There are 26 races where one party has spent and the other has not. Republicans need to net 39 seats in the Nov. 2 midterm elections to regain the House majority.

The new spending comes as both parties recently took out large lines of credit to help cover their spending for the final week of the TV ad blitz. The DCCC reported securing a $17 million line of credit, while the NRCC took out $20 million.

As expected, several vulnerable freshmen, such as Reps. John Boccieri (Ohio), Bobby Bright (Ala.) and Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), are now on the list of million-dollar targets. But longtime veteran Reps. Ike Skelton (Mo.) and John Spratt (S.C.) are also among the unlucky Democrats who have now drawn a million dollars’ worth of IE spending from the NRCC.

The NRCC has been especially interested in picking off Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “majority makers,” who were first elected to Congress in 2006 and gave Democrats control of the chamber for the first time in a dozen years. The NRCC has now spent more than $1 million targeting sophomore Reps. Harry Mitchell (Ariz.), Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.) and Zack Space (Ohio). While the DCCC has matched the NRCC in spending in Space’s district, the DCCC has yet to spend a dime on IEs to boost Shea-Porter.

The DCCC has spent more than $1 million in nine districts, including highly competitive open-seat races in Michigan and Washington. The NRCC has now also crossed the seven-figure threshold in those two races.

The DCCC has been especially aggressive in several open-seat races and has reached $1 million in spending in Illinois’ 10th and Arkansas’ 1st districts and is just under the million-dollar mark in West Virginia’s 1st district. All of those seats are currently held by Democrats except for Illinois.

One district where the DCCC has passed the $1 million mark but where the NRCC has yet to spend any money is in North Carolina’s 8th district, where sophomore Rep. Larry Kissell (D) is in a tough fight against former sportscaster Harold Johnson (R).

Other notable spending reported by the NRCC on Friday included a $177,000 ad buy against Rep. Bill Owens (D), who won a special election earlier this cycle in New York’s 23rd district. It’s the first time the NRCC has targeted the district since the high-profile special election. Owens won that contest after Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava, a moderate who had the support of national party leaders, dropped out of the race late after her party support collapsed and leaders embraced Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

The NRCC also stepped up its spending on Friday in Hawaii’s 1st district, a seat the GOP won earlier this year in another three-way special election. Democrats have been keen on winning back the Democratic-leaning seat now that they don’t have two candidates splitting the vote. But the NRCC’s continued spending there shows the party believes it has a chance of holding the seat on Election Day. The DCCC has already invested more than $660,000 though its IEs on trying to unseat Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii).

In Pennsylvania’s 12th district, which the NRCC also heavily targeted in a May special election, the NRCC nearly doubled its investment, the new report on Friday showed. Democrats have long touted their Pennsylvania special election win as a model for how they can win in conservative territory in a tough environment, so a Republican victory in the 12th on Election Day would be especially symbolic for the NRCC. The GOP committee has now spent more than $540,000 in the district.

Other districts where the GOP doubled its investments on Friday include those held by Reps. John Salazar (Colo.), Phil Hare (Ill.) and Frank Kratovil (Md.).