by Todd Beeton, Wed Oct 15, 2008 at 04:12:36 PM EDT
First the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan, then the RNC pulled out of Wisconsin. Now the NRCC and the NRSC are following suit.
Yesterday The Politico reported that the NRCC has made the decision to hang some of its House recruits out to dry and focus instead on securing seats they currently hold. Take California where conventional wisdom has been that the only flippable race this cycle is CA-04 where Charlie Brown is polling ahead of Tom McClintock to replace John Doolittle. But when the NRCC looks at California, they see a lot more potential devastation than that.
In California, Republican operatives have noticed some troubling trends.
Two years ago, Lungren - who is completing his seventh term in Congress - beat physician and Vietnam War veteran Bill Durston by 21 points. But the economy has taken its toll, and Lungren's district has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. In a newly released Democratic poll, Lungren leads Durston by just 3 percentage points.
Former GOP consultant Allan Hoffenblum said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and other California Republicans, including Reps. David Dreier and Brian Bilbray, are also at risk.
"The Republican base is not sufficient by itself to elect a Republican in those [California] districts; they still need the independent vote," Hoffenblum said. "In the past decade, they have been reliably voting Republican for president and for Congress. ... There are a lot of angry and scared voters out there. This is not your traditional environment."
This fear is well-placed because each of these incumbents has a credible challenger this year in Durston, Debbie Cook in CA-46, Russ Warner in CA-26 and Nick Leibham in CA-50 (Calitics has more on the state of these race.) But one very notable thing that unites these races, something that makes it rather shocking that the NRCC is even choosing to divert resources to them, is that by all accounts the DCCC has not invested in any meaningful way in any of them. One wonders if that is about to change.
Today we learn that the NRSC is getting in on the retreat act by pulling out of the Louisiana senate race. The AP aptly captures the mood of the Republican committees:
Retreating as they brace for congressional losses, Republicans have canceled television advertising in a key Senate race in Louisiana and scaled back ads in eight competitive House contests.
The moves signal a scramble by Republicans, three weeks before nationwide elections, to hold off a Democratic surge. [...]
In pulling planned advertising in Louisiana, Senate Republicans' campaign committee has essentially abandoned its only chance this year to topple a Democratic incumbent, Sen. Mary Landrieu, who is in a competitive race with John Kennedy, the state treasurer who was heavily recruited to challenge her.
Democrats on the other hand:
Majority Democrats, by contrast, are investing in an expanding list of GOP targets -- many in Republican strongholds -- even as they move to protect their own marginal members. [...]
Senate Democrats' political arm is now targeting Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, and Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss with new ads.
And on the House level:
House Democrats' political committee is targeting Republicans once believed to be safe in ironclad GOP districts, including Reps. John Shadegg of Arizona, Mark Souder of Indiana, Ron Lewis of Kentucky and Lee Terry of Nebraska.
Those were among the 45 districts where the Democratic committee poured close to $8.3 million for "voter communications" -- mostly ads -- this week, according to reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission. That list includes 34 seats held by Republicans, 20 of them incumbents.
Whereas the Republicans:
Republicans were advertising in nine districts this week, all but two of them currently in GOP hands. The party committee reported spending about $750,000 on voter communications this week.
This has been your schadenfreude break for the day. Now get back to work!