Key Democratic group pours $186 million in battle for House and preps for ‘trench warfare’ with GOP

House Democrats aim to win the majority back this fall by only four seats. Their big-spending outside groups are prepared to spend even more to get them.

House Majority PAC (the super PAC associated with Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffreys) has reserved $146 million for an initial round TV advertising and $40 million for digital advertising across nearly 60 media markets in the United States. This is as Democrats prepare to fight a fierce battle against Republicans over the few House races that determine the next majority.

CNN was the first to share the details of the ad campaign, which reveals the Democrats’ path to majority. Leaders of the group said that most of their funds would go to pickup opportunities, such as in 16 districts where Joe Biden won in 2020 and are now held by Republicans. They also stated that they would focus on seats that Democrats must defend, which includes five districts in which Donald Trump won.

The group’s 2024 investment is more than the $102 millions initially reserved for ads in the cycle of 2022 and the $41,000,000 in the cycle of 2020. It said that it was making the largest investment to flood key districts in an aggressive ad-campaign, including attacks on Republicans regarding abortion and the failure of a bipartisan deal border security.

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The leader of the group said that the campaign would target other key voting blocs, such as Hispanics, Asian Americans and Blacks voters as well as swing votes who were turned off by Trump’s chaos and the House.

“We only need four seats back to win the majority.” “That’s all,” Mike Smith told CNN, the president of House Majority PAC. It’s going to be a tough four seats. Each of these will be a trench war. We will have to spend a lot of cash, so the $186 million is necessary, but we can do it.”

Smith stated that the number could increase as more money was spent in these important races later in the electoral cycle. He argued the initial investment amounted to “laying the marker”. The majority of the money would be spent on flipping seats in New York, California and other states, which Smith claimed “100%” was the best way to gain the majority. He cited Arizona, Michigan, and Montana as other pickup opportunities for the Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke’s seat. Some ad reservations can be cancelled at a future date by party committees or candidates as they reassess priorities.

Smith stated that no matter what happens the next majority will likely be narrow, as gerrymandered district have led to fewer swing seats within the chamber.

Smith stated that redistricting has reduced the size of the battleground. “I’d expect that there will be a narrow majority.” “The universe has shrunk in terms of most competitive seats for sure.”

House Majority PAC will spend $18 million on ads in Los Angeles, primarily targeting GOP Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel. Ken Calvert, Mike Garcia, and Mike Garcia, while defending a vacancy left by Katie Porter, a Democratic Rep., who decided not to run for re-election. The group has reserved $4.2million in the Fresno market to be used against GOP Reps. John Duarte, David Valadao and others. Another $1.7million is reserved for Bakersfield.

In New York City the group plans to spend another $16.1 millions, including some that could be spent on Reps. Mike Lawler and Anthony D’Esposito as well as Tom Kean Jr. from New Jersey. Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams and other GOP representatives in upstate New York are likely to be targeted. The group has reserved about $5 million for this purpose.

There are many other targets, including the likely destruction of Rep. Jen Kiggans from Virginia with approximately $2 million. David Schweikert in Arizona will receive $5.8 millions and Juan Ciscomani in Arizona $2.4 million. Around $2 million has been allocated for Omaha, Nebraska. This is an indication that Rep. Don Bacon will be attacked. The group has set aside $5.7 million for Philadelphia to target Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, and defend Democratic Rep. Susan Wild. Another $10 million would be spent on GOP Rep. Lori Chavez DeRemer from Oregon, and to defend Democratic Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in Washington State.

The Democratic super-PAC is the only major House committee that has announced its plans for fall advertising. The Congressional Leadership Fund (the super PAC linked to former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and now to Speaker Mike Johnson) is still working on its fall advertising reservations.

The super PAC of the GOP, along with an affiliated outside group that has raised $142 millions for this cycle to date, is confident in the ability of Republicans to hold onto their majority.

CNN reported that “we have incredibly powerful Republican incumbents in tough races, better recruits and a political climate that seems to favor Republicans.” Dan Conston is the president of the Congressional Leadership Fund. If the resources are available, we’ll hold the majority in the fall.

In a year with a presidential election, the candidate at the top of the ballot often determines the outcome of local races. Both parties are challenged by the weaknesses of Trump and Biden. Biden’s dwindling poll numbers could be a problem for Democrats who won districts that Trump won.

Smith, however, said that he is not concerned about Biden’s performance. He cited the Democrats’ recent success and argued that Biden’s presence at the top will be “value added.”

Smith stated that “His approval rating was very similar to the previous ratings, and we were also able to perform better.”

Biden’s campaign could prove difficult for the five Democrats who live in Trump districts in Alaska, Maine and Ohio. Also, four seats are being vacated in Michigan, California, and Virginia by retiring Democrats.

The group will spend a lot of money to defend these seats. They plan to spend $3.7 million on Rep. Jared Golden’s campaign in Maine, $5.4 in Ohio to help Marcy Kaptur and $4.1 in Pennsylvania to help Matt Cartwright. Alaska has not been set aside to support Mary Peltola. Smith explained that each media market is different and has its own set of circumstances which dictate when an ad purchase should be made. This suggests Alaska will appear on the list later in the campaign cycle.

The group will prioritize making reservations for early advertising in states that are key battlegrounds in presidential and Senate elections, as ad space in the fall is limited.

Democrates believe that Zinke’s Montana seat could be at stake, given the highly-publicized Senate race in Montana between Republican Tim Sheehy and Sen. Jon Tester. The group has set aside approximately $4.2 million for Montana media markets.

Smith said that “Montana-01” is a seat he believes that he can win. It’s a place that Sen. Tester has held for many years, and is probably the best Senator that ever served in Montana.