Even with historical midterm trends and the current political environment on their side, Republicans aren’t taking chances with a large chunk of their campaign spending. The GOP will rely on two campaign committee veterans, Joanna Burgos and Kelly Gosselin, to direct the independent expenditure efforts for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee, respectively.
While campaign committees help recruit candidates for some races and coordinate with them on messaging and logistics, the parties also spend tens of millions of dollars on television and digital ads, in some cases spending more than the candidates themselves. Because campaign finance laws prohibit groups that spend huge sums in races from coordinating with campaigns, party committees have the bulk of their ad expenditures managed by an independent staff that works separately from the people who work with candidates.
Burgos directed the NRCC’s $65 million I.E. effort in 2012 and has been involved in the NRCC independent expenditure program as either a team captain or consultant for three of the past four cycles through OnMessage Inc., the prominent GOP consulting firm that includes NRSC Chairman Rick Scott on its roster of clients.
The NRSC independent expenditure director is a critical position, considering the committee’s I.E. arm spent $94.6 million last cycle (including the Georgia runoff elections) and the GOP is just a single seat gain away from controlling the Senate this cycle. Burgos, a Miami native, was a senior adviser at the NRSC last year and will take a leave from OMI as she transitions to director of I.E. this year.
Gosselin is back for a second consecutive cycle as director of the NRCC independent expenditure arm. Last cycle, she oversaw more than $80 million in spending as Republicans outperformed expectations and gained 12 seats.
The York, Pa., native started on Capitol Hill in 2000 but has been involved in campaigns for the past 16 years, working at the committees or as a consultant. This is her fourth cycle as part of the NRCC I.E. operation, including two previous stints as research director (2016 and 2018) and last cycle as director. Gosselin also worked with the NRSC I.E. in the 2008 cycle.
Gosselin was deputy executive director of the NRCC in 2021 and will now transition to the other side of the wall to direct independent expenditures. Republicans need a net gain of just five seats in 2022 for a majority in the House.
Nathan L. Gonzales is an elections analyst with CQ Roll Call.