Democrats are seeing opportunities to capture as many as nine or 10 seats in the Senate amid controversies in the Republican Party with its presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Now they are seeking funds to make that happen, senior Democratic aides and strategists told The Hill.
Aides are looking ahead to the 2018 midterm elections, saying the Democrats need to build a "seawall" to protect the majority they expect to gain this November. They must decide whether to expand their focus beyond eight battleground states they already target, and they must get funding for that focus.
Democrats could benefit from a "wave" of wins, with one aide telling The Hill: "What happens in wave years, it's not necessarily that people break decisively to one side — it's that one side is so disgusted and exhausted they just stay home. It seems we're ripe for that."
Democrats expect wins in Illinois and Wisconsin, but they need more funding in the most competitive states, such as New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, Nevada, and Missouri, according to The Hill.
Options include asking presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign or Democratic senators who are not up for reelection for money.
Republicans have pulled ahead in Arizona and Ohio after spending from outside groups, according to The Hill. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in a tight race with his Democratic challenger, Rep. Patrick Murphy, but the GOP had a spending advantage there, and Rubio now is polling ahead by 7 points.
In Arizona, Sen. John McCain has a funding advantage of $3.9 million over his Democratic opponent, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who is on track to spend $1.7 million. McCain is polling at 15 points ahead of Kirkpatrick, but his approval rating is below 50 percent, which could endanger him in case of a Democratic wave.
Arizona's Democratic Party chairwoman Alexis Tameron said leaders should look at more spending in Arizona, referencing 2012, when Republican Jeff Flake won the race because of a "late surge" in Republican spending.
In Georgia, Republicans are outspending Democrats $2.8 million to $640,000, according to one GOP strategist, in defense of incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson.
In Ohio, pro-Republican groups may have put a Democrat win over incumbent Sen. Rob Portman out of reach.
David Bergstein, spokesman for Portman's opponent, former Gov. Ted Strickland, is hopeful. "Different elements of a potential Republican coalition are alternatively furious at Sen. Portman or turned off by Trump's behavior, while Democrats are more energized than ever before."
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