Republicans Shift Funding to Key Races

The NYT fronts news that the Republicans are shifting money away from races they will likely lose to those they believe they can win. No, really.

Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year’s fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.

The decision to effectively write off Mr. DeWine’s seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign’s final three weeks, signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success.

Republicans are now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate on three states — Missouri, Tennessee and, with Ohio off the table, probably Virginia — while trying to hold on to the House by pouring money into districts where Republicans have a strong historical or registration advantage, party officials said Sunday. Republicans also said they would run advertisements in New Jersey this week to test the vulnerability of Senator Robert Menendez, one of the few Democrats who appear endangered.

Oddly, the Democrats are doing the same thing. Indeed, this is pretty much what parties always do as elections near.

Further, even in the case of DeWine, it’s not as if there is surrender afoot:

Mr. DeWine has proved to be a successful fund-raiser on his own, and, with $4.5 million on hand, already enjoys a large financial advantage over his Democratic opponent, Representative Sherrod Brown; he is not dependent on financial support to keep campaigning. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee have already spent $4.6 million on his race; party officials said they concluded that there were now simply more opportune races to focus on.

So, not only is DeWine lagging in the polls–a bad sign for an incumbent this close to Election Day–but he’s actually got plenty of money on hand. Presumably, if the polls tighten and DeWine gets short on money, the fluidity will move back in his direction and the NRCC will pour money back into that contest.

UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini emails,

Today’s New York Times falsely states that the RNC has conceded the Ohio Senate race. As anyone who reads our FEC reports can see, the RNC has spent more money on Ohio than any other state. That level of spending will continue.

The notion that the RNC is pulling out of Ohio is just dead wrong.

Of course, one can’t see the future in FEC reports. But the denial is noteworthy, at least.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist denies the claim, as well.

Yet again, the Times is completely wrong.

The truth is that liberal Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media are anxious about positive polling for Senator DeWine and about the proven success of our voter mobilization efforts … and they are desperately hoping that Republicans concede Mike DeWine’s seat without putting up a fight.

The truth is that Ohio has been and continues to be one of our highest priorities this November. NRSC Chairman Elizabeth Dole is on the ground in Ohio today and I’ll be there campaigning in the following weeks. As RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made clear this morning, “No state will receive more resources than Ohio from the Republican National Committee.”

And the truth is that Rep. Sherrod Brown’s record of supporting massive tax increases while opposing the tools needed to fight the War on Terror will be rejected by Ohioans in November — regardless of the mainstream media’s distortions.

FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    Oh, c’mon James. You know as well as anyone that the news, to paraphrase Ron White, isn’t _that_ the wind is blowing; it’s _what_ the wind is blowing. Or in this case, just which races each party thinks they can or cannot win & are bailing on. The biggest news, of course, is that the GOP has pretty much written off the entire state of Ohio…

  2. James Joyner says:

    Legion: They’ve got a lemon as a gubernatorial candidate and the polls show that DeWine is trailing badly. That’s not really news.

  3. legion says:

    Not news itself, no, but that the nat’l-level GOP is cutting & running is… And that they’re dumping big $$ into races that were considered GOP locks as little as a few months ago. Here in Idaho, they’re slotting fresh cash into hardball advertising to try & get Idiot Bill Sali into office. They’re having to fight tooth & nail to get a Repub elected _in Idaho_.

    And Ruffini’s only half-right… the GOP _has_ spent a boatload in Ohio up to now. But that’s about to dry up, as it (and PA, and several other areas) is being recognized as a lost cause…

  4. legion says:

    Heh. Reading Frist’s response, I see exactly nothing refuting the basic facts of the original report – only their interpretation.

    The truth is that Ohio has been and continues to be one of our highest priorities this November.

    So is peace in Iraq, but wishin’ won’t make it so.

    NRSC Chairman Elizabeth Dole is on the ground in Ohio today and I’ll be there campaigning in the following weeks.

    Double-heh. As unhappy as many Repubs are with Liddy’s “managing” of the NRSC, that’s not a ringing self-endorsement.

    As RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made clear this morning, “No state will receive more resources than Ohio from the Republican National Committee.”

    Which is a nice little non-response to the report that the GOP is shutting down “new” money into Ohio… They may want to win, but what is the national machine actually doing in that direction? Sending two people whose only helpful impact would be keep the base from deserting, and _maybe_ generate a little more home-grown cash. Not promising…