Times: GOP redirects financial support to vulnerable incumbents

Published: Sunday October 15, 2006

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According to a story in tomorrow's New York Times (reg. req.), Republican leaders are "circling their wagons" around a small group of Congressional and Senate races that they hope will enable them to keep control of Congress in January, while conceding others to the Democrats.

The Times notes that most the of Republican advertising money during the last few weeks of the campaign is slated to be spent defensively, to protect seats they already hold. The Democrats, in contract, are focusing on taking seats away from the Republicans.



Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year's fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.

The decision to effectively write off DeWine's seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign's final three weeks -- signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success.

Republicans are now pinning their hopes of holding the Senate on three states -- Missouri, Tennessee and, with Ohio now off the table, probably Virginia -- while trying to hold on to the House by pouring money into districts where Republicans have a strong historical or registration advantage, party officials said Sunday. Republicans also said they would run advertisements in New Jersey this week to test the vulnerability of Sen. Robert Menendez, one of the few Democrats who appear endangered.


The decision involving DeWine offers the most compelling evidence so far that Republicans are circling their wagons around a smaller group of races, effectively conceding some Senate and House seats with the goal of retaining at least a thin margin of control when the 110th Congress is seated next January. Democrats need to win six seats to capture the Senate and 15 seats to win the House on Nov. 7.