The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee outspent its Republican rival by more than $23 million in the weeks leading up to Election Day, a massive disparity aimed at protecting dozens of vulnerable House incumbents who ultimately fell amid historic Democratic losses.
The DCCC and the National Republican Campaign Committee spent more than $86 million combined in the five-week period from Oct. 14 to Nov. 22, according to updated filings reported with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night. The NRCC spent $31.3 million, compared with the DCCC’s $54.8 million in that five-week period.
And while both committees borrowed heavily to fuel their 11th-hour spending sprees, the DCCC finished the period with debts of more than $19.4 million, including nearly $4.5 million in unpaid bills and another outstanding Bank of America loan of $15 million. The NRCC, meanwhile, reported debt of $12 million, having drawn from a $20 million line of credit. Putting the debt aside, each committee finished the period with modest cash balances: $4.7 million for the Republican committee and $3.1 million for the Democrats.
The numbers released Thursday evening do not include tens of millions of dollars more in spending by the campaign committees for Senate Republicans and Democrats and the Republican and Democratic national committees. But they are the first to detail exploding spending levels amid a growing House playing field that produced a GOP net gain of at least 63 seats and the House majority.
For the entire two-year cycle, DCCC spending exceeded $122 million, according to FEC filings. The NRCC, by comparison, spent less than $95 million.
The reports show that Democrats pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into districts across the nation where incumbents ultimately lost.
In Pennsylvania’s 10th district, for example, the DCCC spent more than $400,000 in the three weeks before Election Day to defeat Republican Tom Marino, who defeated Rep. Christopher Carney. Overall, the DCCC put $581,000 into that race.
It was much the same case in New York’s 19th district, where the DCCC spent nearly $493,000 — including a $409,000 independent media buy on Oct. 21 — to defend Rep. John Hall, who was later defeated by Rep.-elect Nan Hayworth (R).
And in Florida’s 2nd district, Rep. Allen Boyd lost by 12 points to Republican Steve Southerland, despite a DCCC investment of $338,000 — most of it coming after Oct. 15.
If there was any bright spot for Democrats in Thursday’s numbers, it’s that they outraised the NRCC $33.1 million to $12.7 million. But that’s little comfort for a party that suffered its worst losses in more than seven decades.
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