Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dems swoop in to help Reid as ad spending spikes

The spike in outside group money coincides with a consolidated attack by the White House, the Democratic Party and their liberal allies on Republican-leaning outside groups that have already spent millions of dollars supporting Republican candidates without having to disclose their donors.

Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the influx of money means the two groups have raised $56 million this year. They set a new goal of raising $65 million.

The two Crossroads groups, which had focused on close Senate contests, now plans to spend $10 million on at least 15 House races. It also plans to add $5 million to its Senate spending. Collegio said the effort will combine with "like-minded groups" for an overall $50 million spike in House spending. The groups include the American Action Network, run by former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, created by GOP lobbyist and strategist Scott Reed.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the new House spending strategy.

A Republican operative who tracks political advertising said the American Action Network was poised to spend about $13 million in more than 20 races.

The groups' spending also comes as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has supported mostly Republican candidates, increases its spending in the waning days of the campaign. The chamber has already spent more than $20 million on House and Senate races.

The first wave of Crossroads spending — about $2 million in eight House seats — is aiming mostly at seats that Democrats hope to salvage to avoid a Republican takeover of the House. Among the targets are Democratic Reps. Dan Maffei and Maurice Hinchey in New York, Zack Space in Ohio and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. In one of its few defensive forays, Crossroads is also going to buy ads to protect Republican incumbent Dan Lungren in California.

The American Action Network also will air ads against Donnelly and is broadening the field for Republicans by including such targets as Reps. Jim Himes and Christopher Murphy in Connecticut, Tim Walz in Minnesota, Charlie Wilson in Ohio and Gerry Connolly in Virginia, all of whom had not been counted as the most vulnerable Democrats.

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