Tags: midterms | Democrats | spending | Senate races

Democrats Moving Money to Long-Shot Senate Races

By    |   Monday, 20 October 2014 12:12 PM

Democrats are starting to pour money into races initially considered long-shots as vulnerable incumbents show signs of falling behind Republicans, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Last week, the party spent $1 million in Georgia where a poll indicated Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn are tied at 46 percent for the open seat.

The Democratic Party also spent $1 million on the open seat in South Dakota where former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds is 4-points ahead in the latest poll against Democrat Rick Weiland and independent candidate Larry Pressler.

Earlier in the season, the seat had been seen as a likely GOP win, but now looks like a toss-up, elections expert Larry Sabato said last week.

Democrats are also pouring money into ads for the Iowa race between GOP candidate Joni Ernst and Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley, who has been lagging up to 4-points behind in recent polls.

"The only way the Democrats hold the Senate is if they pull off surprises," Peter Fenn, a Democratic political consultant, told The Journal. "Do the math: Democrats are going to have to pull an inside straight on this one."

The shift toward different races has in part been driven by fading prospects of three vulnerable Democratic incumbents in Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Colorado is also up in the air, according to The Journal.

Republicans are hammering their opponents with ads in those states, relying on those races to help them achieve the six-seat swing needed to take control of the Senate. The strategy tends to center around tying incumbents to the president's record in a bid to take advantage of his low approval ratings.

Democrats are also hoping to deliver results using aggressive get-out-the-vote operations, the strength of which they believe may not be reflected in the polling, according to The Journal.

"Democrats have the best closers in the country, which is going to propel us across the finish line," Ty Matsdorf, senior campaign strategist for the Senate Majority PAC, told The Journal.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also trying to shore up support for candidates that are lagging behind their Democratic rivals. In North Carolina, for example, the National Republican Senatorial Committee put $6 million into the race on behalf of state House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has now pulled ahead of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan by 1-point in the most recent poll.

And Republicans recently are benefiting from a more even playing field in terms of spending, even though Democrats outspent the GOP throughout the summer and into September, The Journal reported.

Parties often shift tactics in the final weeks of an election as it becomes more clear which way certain races are going, but this year's races have been notably more close and also uncertain than other cycles, according to The Journal.

Democrats in particular are seeing shifts in their campaigns as larger world events, such as Ebola and the advance of the Islamic State, have put them on the back foot as opponents try to link their campaigns to the low job approval of President Barack Obama on these issues, The Journal reported.

This has become particularly evident in the North Carolina race between Tillis and Hagan

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Democrats are starting to pour money into races initially considered long-shots as vulnerable incumbents show signs of falling behind Republicans.
midterms, Democrats, spending, Senate races
Monday, 20 October 2014 12:12 PM
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