This November, Which Party Has a Bigger War Chest?

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A coalition of conservative groups are unveiling a whopping $50 million ad blitz this week in an effort to dislodge the Democrats' majority in the House come November. The surge of spending has turned many political observers' attention to the pools of money being spent. Do Republicans have a clear money advantage?

  • Conservative Groups Are Planning an Enormous Ad Blitz, report Alex Isenstadt and Meredith Shiner at Politico: "A roster of conservative groups is set to launch a coordinated $50 million ad campaign targeting House Democrats. American Crossroads, an organization that has spent upwards of $20 million on Senate races this cycle, will join with American Action Network and the Committee on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity in an all-out campaign to dislodge the Democratic congressional majority...The alliance is part of an ever growing list of conservative groups, including Americans for Job Security, the Club for Growth, the 60 Plus Association, and American Future Fund, pouring millions of dollars into House races."
  • Labor Unions Can't Keep Up with Corporate Spending, writes Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones:

Labor unions—generally the most reliable and well-funded Democratic allies—are trying to bridge the gap by pouring their own money into swing races. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), for example, announced Wednesday that it will be spending over $300,000 on a TV ad buy attacking the Republican opponent of Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.) on his support for free trade. The problem is that labor's dollars are being stretched, too, by the Democrats' waning prospects across the country...

Labor groups are trailing their big Republican counterparts in terms of overall ad spending: the SEIU has spent a total of $6.3 million on ad buys and the American Federation for State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has spent $7.1 million so far. By comparison, the Chamber has spent $20 million, and American Crossroads has dropped $13.5 million—and that's only what's been reported so far, before the blizzard of spending that accompanies the final weeks of any election.

  • Reality Check: Democrats Are Flush with Cash, report Brody Mullins and Danny Yadron at The Wall Street Journal: "Democratic candidates, notably incumbents, have raised more cash than many of their Republican rivals in this year's most competitive House races, according to a Wall Street Journal tally of Federal Election Commission data. In the 40 races deemed toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, a political handicapper, Democratic candidates had a combined $39.3 million of cash on hand as of June 30, the most-recent filing deadline. Republican candidates had $16.5 million in the bank."
  • Outside Money Is Merely Evening the Playing Field, writes Josh Kraushaar at National Journal:
All expectations were that Democrats would hold a significant financial fundraising edge over Republicans, and that the money advantage would be their one saving grace in surviving an otherwise punishing election year. This was the near-unanimous conventional wisdom well after the Supreme Court loosened campaign finance restrictions in its Citizens United v. FEC decision, and even months after third-party groups like American Crossroads formed with the express intent to help Republican candidates.

Instead, the third-party money has evened the playing field, allowing underfunded Republican challengers to be financially competitive with well-heeled Democratic incumbents. Without groups like American Crossroads, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would have been able to dominate the airwaves against Republican Sharron Angle, who ended the primary campaign nearly broke while Reid was sitting on more than $8 million. ...

Democrats may charge that the outside money has created all these Republican opportunities. But the reality is the opposite: The poisonous political environment for Democrats, fueled by their own votes, is sparking the GOP's financial momentum across the board.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.