Politics

Senate Democrats to Highlight GOP Primaries in Online Campaign

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is launching an online ad campaign on Monday to run during August recess that highlights competitive Republican primaries.

Called the "GOP Tea Party Primary-Palooza," the significant media buy will include web video ads, online ads, Facebook and Twitter ads, and "news alerts" to highlight the latest developments, according to a release obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“We are seven months into the cycle, and each week a new GOP primary or Senate candidate seems to emerge, further complicating their path to the majority,” DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky said in a statement.

The map, on its surface, heavily favors Republicans, as most of the competitive battles are for seats held by Democrats. However, the GOP needs a net gain of six seats to take back the majority in 2014. There are more than enough seats in competitive states for the GOP to do it, but it remains a tall climb.

Democrats hope the unpredictable GOP field in Georgia and the emerging primary competition for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky improves the party's odds of picking up those seats in Republican-leaning states. There are also already GOP nomination battles for Democratic seats, including some of the most vulnerable: Alaska, Iowa, North Carolina and South Dakota.

Primaries hurt Republicans in the last two elections, including in 2012, when flawed candidates such as then-Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., won the nominations, or recruits like former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson emerged from costly intraparty battles in weakened positions for the general election.

How those nominating contests play out in 2014, along with whether Democratic incumbents can hang on in states President Barack Obama lost last year, will undoubtedly play a major factor in who controls the Senate in 2015.