'Nobody expected it to be this bad': Conservatives panic as campaign donations flood in to defeat vulnerable GOP candidates
Composite image of Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) via screengrabs

According to a report in Politico, Republican-aligned PAC's are sounding the alarm as they see themselves being outspent by opposition groups in states where Republican lawmakers running for re-election are in danger of being ousted.

Focusing on GOP incumbents up for election in 2020, Politico reports, "A quartet of new nonprofit groups has already spent millions of dollars hammering four of the most vulnerable Republican senators on the ballot next year, sparking a wave of concern among strategists trying to protect the GOP’s slim three-seat Senate majority in 2020."

Those embattled senators include Cory Gardner (R-CO), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) -- all of whom are struggling to hang onto their seats in what is expected to be a high-turnout election with Donald Trump also on the ballot.

According to Scott Reed, the chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which is backing the Republicans, the tsunami of cash that is almost doubling conservative efforts is a "wake-up call" for the GOP.

“We expected it to be bad. Nobody expected it to be this bad,” Reed said when confronted with the early spending numbers. “The right of center groups have got to get moving. Elections have consequences and the Senate is the backstop against all out craziness.”

"Leaders at the National Republican Senatorial Committee have also sounded the alarm. In an October memo, Sen. Todd Young, the committee’s chairman, and Kevin McLaughlin, its executive director, wrote that there had been a 'flurry of outside spending' in those four races," Politico reports, adding the internal memo stated, “[Democratic] groups are going on offense, with outside money pouring into states like Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and Iowa.”

"This year’s early barrage is not coming from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee or the super PAC Senate Majority PAC, the main players in Democratic Senate campaigns. Instead, the top spenders are a band of nonprofit organizations that formed just this year, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and do not have to disclose information about their donors," the report states. "Each of the new nonprofits is incorporated in the state they are running ads in and run by local Democratic operatives, and none of the groups have any clear ties to national Democratic groups. But in 2017 and 2018, Senate Majority PAC funded pop-up super PACs in several states with critical Senate elections, and the groups’ ties to national Democrats and donors weren’t revealed until after the elections."

One particular target, Colorado's Gardner, is seen as particularly vulnerable, with Politico reporting, "Colorado is potentially Democrats’ top target this year, a must-win race for them to retake the Senate majority. Three groups — Rocky Mountain Values, which is one of the newly-formed local nonprofits; the gun control group Giffords; and Need to Impeach, the anti-Trump group founded by billionaire presidential candidate Tom Steyer — have combined to spend more than $1.2 million on TV in the state this year, while no Republican group has aired any ads so far."

Also targeted is Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), with the report stating, "In Iowa, Democratic-aligned groups have tripled Republican groups on the airwaves, spending more than $1.8 million on early ads attacking Ernst. Most of it has come from Iowa Forward, a nonprofit that does not reveal its donors but has spent $1.4 million so far this election."

You can read more here -- including state-by-state numbers where Republicans are reeling.