WASHINGTON — The House Democrats’ main political action committee is spending nearly $102 million to reserve advertising spots in 50 media markets, from Bangor, Maine, to San Diego, Calif., a battlefield that is considerably larger and more expensive than it was in the past two congressional elections.
The breadth of the congressional map reveals the scope of Democrats’ worries about holding seats in midterm elections. Areas once considered safe, like South Texas, greater Pittsburgh and Seattle will see Democratic advertising.
But Democrats will be playing some offense, too, especially in California, where redistricting has opened up Republican targets.
“We are doing whatever it takes to hold the majority, and there are opportunities across the map,” said Abby Curran Horrell, the executive director of the House Democrats’ political action committee, known as House Majority PAC, adding, “We feel confident about the races that we plan to play in.”
Her Republican counterpart, Dan Conston of the Congressional Leadership Fund, said the huge expenditure is a sign of weakness and an admission that inflation, rising crime rates and an unpopular Democratic president will not only cost Democrats swing districts but also make some districts President Biden won handily fiercely competitive.
“I think they believe they’ve already lost the majority,” he said. “This is about staving off losses in some deep blue, traditionally Democratic areas.”
The spending comes even as redistricting has shriveled the number of districts considered competitive based on election results in 2020. House district maps gerrymandered by both parties have left fewer than 40 seats — potentially far fewer — that would have been closely divided between Republican and Democratic voters in 2020. But the new advertising reservations point to a map that has expanded far beyond those districts.
What to Know About Redistricting
Wednesday’s reservations in 51 markets stand out, even in recent history. In 2020, House Majority PAC made initial advertising reservations in 29 media markets, with half the money it is spending Wednesday. In the Democratic wave year of 2018, $43 million was put down early for reservations in 33 markets.
Democrats holding swing seats will see advertising spent on their behalf. Among the beneficiaries will be Representatives Jared Golden of Maine, Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria of Virginia, Cindy Axne of Iowa, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan.
But with Mr. Biden’s approval …….