With less than a month until Election Day, Republicans plan to spend big money on GOP candidates in deep blue U.S. House districts who could help them gain the five seats needed for the party to win a majority.
Republican leadership plans to spend over $25 million on four races in California, two in New York and Oregon, and one in Arizona, Connecticut, and New Mexico, reported Axios.
The influx of cash in Democrat-held seats makes it seem like Republicans believe the GOP is headed for midterm gains inside enemy territory –because there are very few reasons to spend millions unless there’s a chance the candidate will win.
House Minority Leader Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s Congressional Leadership Fund is allocating $23 million to eight GOP candidates running in Democrat strongholds, reported Axios. And an additional five Republican candidates running in blue districts will share $2.2 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), according to the outlet.
Republican Kelly Cooper is running in Arizona’s 4th Congressional district (AZ-4) against Democratic Arizona Rep. Greg Stanton. The district is considered to be “likely Democratic” by the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez. A political consultant in Arizona called a portion of the call that includes parts of Tempe, Mesa, and Chandler “the big purple corridor,” according to AZCentral.
President and CEO of High Ground Inc., Chuck Coughlin, said although large parts of AZ-4 are pragmatic rather than ideological, the “purple corridor” will be hard to win for a Republican after being carried by Biden and other Democrats in previous elections, reported AZ Central. (RELATED: House Democrats Struggle To Raise Funds As Republicans Continually Break Records)
“I look at that as a very Democratic district. It’s sort of like the old [9th district], like Sinema’s old district. It looks more Republican than it really is,” he said. “It looks like a swing district on paper, but I just have a hard time thinking that that’s going to slide into the Republican category there.”
Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Committee labeled the election between Cooper and Stanton in AZ-4 a “competitive” race, with the Democrats only holding a 7% “vote spread” over Republicans.
An August survey conducted by RMG Research of likely AZ-4 midterm voters showed Cooper only 7-points behind Stanton, with 11% of voters indicating they were still undecided, the poll showed.
AZ – 4th:
Stanton (D): 46%
Cooper (R): 39%
Schrier (D): 47%
Larkin (R): 43%
— Polling USA 🎃 (@USA_Polling) August 19, 2022
McCarthy and the NRCC are supporting four races in McCarthy’s home state of California: CA-13, CA-26, CA-47, and CA-49, according to Axios.
Former California state Rep. Scott Baugh is running against Democratic California Rep. Katie Porter in CA-47, which includes the famous Hunting Beach area.
“Democratic Rep. Katie Porter is a fundraising machine, but she might need the cash to ride out a potential GOP wave in the pricey L.A. media market,” said chief Politico election reporter Steve Shepard in August. “Porter got 52 percent of the June all-party primary vote, making her a modest favorite against Republican Scott Baugh.”
The Democrats seemingly acknowledged Republicans’ chances of winning these districts by sending Biden to California to campaign for California Congressmen, according to the outlet. “The fact that Biden spent political capital in Democratic strongholds … this week – less than a month before Election Day – speaks volumes about the national mood,” Axios reported.
Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District (CT-5) is considered likely Democratic, with President Joe Biden carrying the district by 11-points in 2020 and Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes cited as the race favorite, according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball for the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“Since they lost it in 2006, Republicans have sometimes tried to target the northwestern CT-5, but have come up short,” UVA Center for Politics stated. “This cycle, Republicans have a serious candidate in former state Sen. George Logan — from 2016 to 2020, he represented a competitive seat (by state standards) in the Naugatuck Valley.”
Logan is within two points of Hayes, according to Public Opinion Strategies polling of likely voters from Oct. 4-6.
George Logan Internal/Public Opinion Strategies (R) poll for #CT05
Jahana Hayes (D-inc): 48%
George Logan (R): 46% pic.twitter.com/cDTctxX6Et
— Political Election Projections (@tencor_7144) October 17, 2022
The Congressional Leadership Fund purchased ads for former Republican Connecticut state Sen. George Logan attacking Hayes’ support for other Democrats, including highlighting Hayes claiming that “Democrats single-handedly saved the economy,” according to Connecticut Public Radio. Republicans are spending $2.7 million to support Logan over Hayes, Axios reported. (RELATED: Republicans Are Pumping Cash Into Solidly Blue Districts)
New Mexico’s redistricting map weakened the two Democratic districts, including New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District’s (NM-3) race between Democratic New Mexico Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez and AlexisMartinez Johnson, in favor of breaking up the Republican stronghold in the southern part of the state, CNN reported in August.
“The new map is an aggressive bid for Democrats to win all three congressional districts. It makes the only district in the state represented by a Republican, the southern 2nd district, much more competitive, but it also makes the two seats currently held by Democrats less secure,” according to the outlet.
The political ratings for NM-3 are mixed. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez calls the race solidly Democratic, while the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball rank NM-3 as likely Democratic.
New York Democrats are fretting over internal polls showing NY-17, a suburban area Biden won by 10-points, becoming a possible flipped seat by the Republican Party, according to The New York Times.
Democratic New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is facing Republican NY state Assemblyman Michael Lawler in a race former Long Island congressman Steve Israel called “unpredictable.”
New York – 17th House Polling:
Lawler (R): 52%
Maloney (D): 46%
McLaughlin / Oct 12, 2022 / n=400 / MOE 4.9% / Telephone/Online
— Polling USA 🎃 (@USA_Polling) October 15, 2022
“I watch this stuff closely, and I feel I need a neck brace. Midterms this cycle are the most unpredictable and fluctuating I’ve ever seen, but no state has demonstrated that more than New York,” Israel told The New York Times.
Redistricting woes for the Democrats made the Congressional races more competitive for Republicans, the outlet reported. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzalez downgraded the race between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11 from “likely” to “leans Democratic.” Outside Republican groups paid for $2 million in ads against Maloney, according to Axios.
Former Democratic Rep. Val Hoyle faces Republican Alek Skarlatos, who ran unopposed in his Republican primary.
Redistricting made Democrats more competitive in Oregon’s 4th Congressional district, but now Independent and unaffiliated voters outrank both of the top parties, allowing Republican inroads, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). Democrats gained two percentage points over the number of Republican voters registered in OR-4, according to OPB.
Oregon looks poised to elect a Republican governor, with an October Emerson College Polling survey showing the Republican candidate Christine Drazan with a two-point lead over Democrat Tina Kotek.