Our new spend tracker exhibits how evenly the battlefield of the home is split – and that's dangerous for the GOP

Republicans assign all vacant seats to the party they previously controlled and have 201 seats in the House of Representatives, which means they would have to make a net profit of 17 to win the 218 seats required for a majority. While that doesn't seem very big, especially given the fact that there are 30 Democrats in districts that Donald Trump promoted in 2016, Republicans play both defense and offense, making flipping the house a very large task power.

There are a few important things to keep in mind before diving in:

Our tracker only covers the expenses of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Majority PAC, the NRCC (National Republican Campaign Committee) and the Congressional Leadership Fund (HMP and Christian Leaders Fellowship are both Super PACs). Many other organizations have – and will – spent millions on house races. However, these other groups are largely focused on the same races as the Big Four. So by looking at what the top four groups are doing, we can get a good picture of the battlefield while avoiding information overload. However, there can be exceptions as priorities are not always perfectly synchronized even among companies that support the same page.
Even if a district hasn't received much or no money from third-party providers, it could still be added to that list before election day. For the same reason, seats can change hands even with little or no outside spending. With all of their access to surveys, analysis and other data, these groups are by no means infallible for predicting which races will be most competitive.
Our tracker only covers previous issues that external groups are required to report to the Bundestag Election Commission. Upcoming expenses, including reservations for television advertising, are not taken into account. Information about future editions is generally only available through media reports, which tend to be fragmentary. However, it is generally a safe bet that most of these races will continue through Election Day. However, some are being tested (or have already been), which we are tracking separately.
Our paper contains issues through July 20, when the independent issue season began in earnest with a DCCC ad purchase in New York's 24th borough (the other three major groups all started issues in August). Previous editions for special elections or area codes are therefore not included.
Not all dollars are created equal. Spending $ 1 million in Kansas City will buy a lot more ads than New York City, where advertising is much more expensive.

New independent spending reports are constantly being updated (groups usually have to submit them within 48 or 24 hours of their money actually being spent) and the pace will only accelerate as we get closer to election day. We will therefore update our diagram every Monday and note all important developments. Dig in!

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