The DCCC ups the stakes in Louisiana and Mississippi

News broke from the Louisiana and Mississippi special elections just a few hours after I reported that concerned Republicans (and GOP-supporting groups) were rushing to rescue endangered these red Southern districts: The NRCC has bought its first ad in MS-01 and a group called Freedom's Watch has done the same attacking the Democratic nominee in LA-06.

But it is dangerous to provoke an adversary when they have seemingly free flowing ressources and you are nearly broke, and news broke tonight that the DCCC is responding quickly to the Republicans' move. Swing State Project provides the details: The DCCC has just bought a $104K ad buy in LA-06 (plus some direct mail), bringing its total to $270K, more than the double of what Republicans are spending in their effort to keep a seat that voted overwhelmingly for Bush.

The DCCC is going even further in LA-06 and filing an official FEC complaint against the NRCC. The complaint alleges that the GOP committee coordinated with Freedom's Watch; both ads attacking Cazayoux use similar attacks to charge the Democrat with wanting to raise taxes. The WaPo article adds that, "The Democratic officials said the advertising script carried an electronic identifier that shows it originated in the Republican committee."

More surprising is the DCCC's decision to invest in MS-01, with an ad buy of more than $125,000 -- a significant amount in a seat that was on no one's radar screen until a few days ago and in a seat in which the NRCC fired the first shot (will they come to regret it?). Of course, it is not that surprising when one considers how much money the DCCC has in the bank and the small number of seats they are really worried about losing in November (though GOP chances are looking up in places like TX-22). They have resources to invest in many districts that usually go unchallenged -- and MS-01 was an obvious choice considering that a poll last week confirmed that the race was a toss-up. You can be sure the DCCC will test Republican seats in places where the GOP looks even better than it does here... Democrats know the NRCC will not be able to respond everywhere, so why not have a go at it and see whether numbers move?

The DCCC's move forces us to pay attention to MS-01 in a way that even the NRCC's ad buy had not brought about yet. The district's massive Republican lean combined with the fact that Greg Davis is not a flawed candidate the way Woody Jenkins is (in LA-06) give the Republicans an obvious advantage here, one that even last week's poll and the NRCC's move did not seem to question. Those news were alarming, but they were merely the signs of a defensive Republican Party. But we now have to confront the very real possibility that Republicans will have lost three heavily red seats in the space of two months (counting IL-14). Even if the GOP holds on two both LA-06 and MS-01 (the latter still leans GOP at this hour, though the former favors a pick-up), at what cost will they have done so? And how can they possibly hope to pull out similar defenses in late October unless they significantly pick-up their fundraising?

Before they worry about such questions, the NRCC is confronted to more pressing choices: What do they do about MS-01 and LA-06? If they meet the DCCC's totals, they will fall in a deeper financial hole knowing that Democrats will have little trouble raising the stakes even more. But they can ill afford to give up on two seats that are this staunchly Republican. So will they concentrate on MS-01, which is obviously much more easily salvageable?

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  • If they give up on LA-6, what will happen to their fund raising ability? Would it be worse than if they lose both races? If they win both but it costs them $500,000 to do so, how will that play in the media?

    I can't see an optimistic way of looking at these races.

    By Anonymous C.S.Strowbridge, At 16 April, 2008 16:05  

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