As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan.
The cuts — totaling roughly $13.5 million since Aug. 1 — come as the Republicans’ Senate campaign committee is being forced to “stretch every dollar we can,” said a person familiar with the NRSC’s deliberations. Republican nominees in critical states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina — places the GOP must defend this fall — have failed to raise enough money to get on air themselves, requiring the NRSC to make cuts elsewhere to accommodate.
Since Aug. 1, the NRSC has cut ad buys in the battleground states of Pennsylvania ($7.5 million), Arizona ($3.5 million), Wisconsin ($2.5 million) and Nevada ($1.5 million), according to the ad tracking service AdImpact. Separately, a Democratic source tracking advertising buys estimated roughly $10.5 million in cuts by the NRSC since the first of the month.
“People are asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’” said one Republican strategist working on Senate races. “Why are we cutting in August? I’ve never seen it like this before.”
Then there’s some spin about it. And it is still quite early. But one thing is increasingly clear: this is not going to be a 1994 or 2010 or 2014. Between Republicans running utter clownshow candidates, the Dobbs decision, and the specter of Trump’s next candidacy, this might be one of those midterm years that defies the odds and keeps the party in power holding Congress, or at least one body of it, which is about all we can ask for. That it will be the Senate is even better because of the appointees. Moreover, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Arizona should clearly be in the Lean Democratic camp at this point, with PA probably as far as Likely Democratic given Fetterman beating the living hell of Oz with the best media campaign I’ve ever seen.