NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-14 Special Election

By most measures, the Democrats have a fairly good opportunity to pick up another seat in the House of Representatives this week in the special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of former Republican House Speaker Denny Hastert. The district tends to lean about 5 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in presidential elections. However, tthe changing demographics of Illinois combined with the general trend in the country towards the Democrats combined with the unpopularity of the Republican nominee combined with the strong profile of the Democratic nominee combined with the ad cut by Barack Obama (who is extremely popular in the state) for the race have really put this contest in play -- so much so, in fact, that the National Republican Congressional Committee is being forced to dump a significant portion of what it has in the bank on the race. Take a look:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spent more than $300,000 on a media buy on Monday in former Rep. Dennis Hastert's (R) district, bringing its investment in the race close to $1 million.


The NRCC launched an $850,000 ad buy last week, and it added a $180,000 buy on Tuesday. It has now spent more than $1.2 million on the race.

The NRCC simply does not have the kind of money to go toe-to-toe with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As of the latest filing period, the NRCC finally was able to pull itself out of debt for the first time this cycle, with a net $4.1 million in the bank as of the end of January. Crunching out the math, then, the $1.2 million the NRCC has had to spend defending this Republican seat in a Republican district amounts to 29.2 percent of the committee's net cash-on-hand, or nearly a third. In contrast, the D-trip has spent about 3.0 percent of its net cash-on-hand on the race, not nearly depleting its coffers in the same way.

This one is a real nail-biter at this point, and it would no doubt be very exciting for the Democrats to pick up this seat. But given the larger picture -- the race to elect more and better Democrats for the 111th Congress -- this race has already been a success, with the Democrats forcing the Republicans to spend money they can't afford to be dumping on a seat they otherwise should be able to hold.

Tags: House 2008, IL-14, Illinois, NRCC, Special Election (all tags)



Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

   This is Cole's dumbest decision of the cycle.  Oberweis had previously run three statewide campaigns.  He's much better known than Foster.  Oberweis has tons of cash and spent plenty of it on negative ads already.  Why does Tom Cole think that his negative ads will help possibly the worst candidate imaginable?  Really, it's being pissed away.  Long live Tom Cole!

by cilerder86 2008-03-05 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

I'm not sure it demonstrates complete stupidity.  If I'm sitting where they are (heaven help me), losing this seat would add so much credibility to the CW that the wheels are coming off the GOP.  The NRCC, for future fundraising efforts, cannot lose this seat.  From their standpoint, this is a firewall.  They are really in a pathetic situation.

by smoker1 2008-03-05 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

  I agree that losing this seat would be a disaster for the GOP.  I'm not sure that dumping even more money on ads for Oberweis will help anything.  They should have saved their money for a candidate how could actually benefit from extra air time.

by cilerder86 2008-03-05 08:41PM | 0 recs
good stuff!!

by kindthoughts 2008-03-05 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

I don't understand why the NRCC is doing that.  Oberweis is UBER RICH.  HE should be able to EASILY self finance. Besides, Oberweis is an evil douche whose views are too extreme for most Illinois REPUBLICANS.  Fosters ads work well and he comes off  pretty level headed.  Great new one where he attacks Privatization of Social Security.  

Besides, its not like the West Burbs are devoid of rich Republicans.  Hell, John Calamos is a Republican AND a Billionaire and he is in Naperville... out of district but still a big donor possibility.  There are many others.  

Shocking... but AWESOME.

Go Foster.  Now if we can only defeat MY congresswoman Judy Biggert, life would be good.

by yitbos96bb 2008-03-05 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

Republicans did the same thing last cycle, burning millions to defend Duke Cuinningham's seat.  They saved the seat but lost needed cash for the homestretch.  Of course, Oberweis has a higher net worth than the NRCC so this one is a little silly.

Rove, etc. parcelled out cash based on poll results in 2006.  A lot of races got a $10,000 comtribution (a poll) with some deemed safe and others getting cash.  Although not infallible, the system mostly worked but Tom Reynolds seems to be a much smarter manager than Cole.  One would assume that under the old rules, the polls say that Oberweis is losing close or tied (otherwise no cash).

Special elections are more likely to turn over than House elections in general.  IIRC, about 85% or slightly higher of these seats are retained by the current party holding the seat.  Most of the rest go to the party that does not hold the White House.  Recently, Democrats have picked up and then held special seats in Kentucky (Ben Chandler) and South Dakota (Stephanie Herseth).    

A Republican strategy that was actiually aimed at winning back the House would have invested this money elsewhere.  One possibility would be OR-5 and another would be Julia Carson's seat in Indianapolis.  Panic does seem to be ruling the day.

by David Kowalski 2008-03-05 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

Go help Scott Harper...

He is a real stand up guy.

by Delver Rootnose 2008-03-06 01:37AM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

Obama has me, but if Clinton somehow wins then I will.

by yitbos96bb 2008-03-06 04:24AM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows

Exciting news! So heartening! :)

by Nathan Empsall 2008-03-05 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

I am trying to come up with a way of saying this that is less cliche than "Live by spin, die by spin", but I can't. This is really the Karl Rove universe swallowing itself whole. The Republicans have convinced themselves so completely that constructing over-arching media narratives is what determines victory, that now they will pay any price to control those narratives. I mean, you lose a special election in a somewhat Republican district. So what? Special elections tend more often to produce upsets, and it's one crummy district. Re-group and win it back in the general when your voters are coming out to support the presidential candidate. But they can't bring themselves to chill out and take a few lumps in the media for a lousy news cycle or two, because that's the only reality they know. All I can say is, hahahahahaha.

by thesleepthief 2008-03-05 07:33PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

I mean, presuming their spending is premissed on the fear of a "Republicans falling apart, no seat safe" media narrative rather than a genuine love of their candidate. But maybe they do just love the guy that much. They do have a thing for rich white guys.

by thesleepthief 2008-03-05 07:36PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

Well narrative is right- I read an article today in which they said they expect to pick up seats. Defend is one thing, but pick up seems a bit much.

by bruh21 2008-03-05 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

considering the position financially that the nrcc is in, and considering the fraud allegations they're dealing with this is pretty sad.

does anyone know where i can find the numbers for the cash on hand at the dnc

by Lazeriath 2008-03-05 07:34PM | 0 recs
great reporting n/t

by kid oakland 2008-03-05 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC spending in IL-14

DCCC spending over the past week is about half what the Republicans have poured in, around $600 K.  Yet another example where spending a dollar on a challenger will provoke a counter expenditure that is much larger.  Perhaps the RNC was goaded into apending money it didn't have.

The DCCC has put money in to defend IN-7 but has not gotten a counter.  Meanwhile the infamous Club For Growth is spending on Woody Jenkins in Louisiana.

by David Kowalski 2008-03-05 09:46PM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

This is just one example..
There are many more. Republicans are at risk and won't have the money.

"You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher"...P. Gabriel

by nogo war 2008-03-06 03:39AM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

I predict Oberweis will win. He is pounding Foster on taxes with no response from Foster. Oberweis ads are claiming Foster wants to raise taxes on middle class families by $8918 each. Where does he get this figure? Why doesn't Foster deny it? I can't beleive that Foster was so dumb as to propose something like that, but the people of IL-14  are conditioned to equate Democrats and taxes. He needs to be pro-active in denying this.

by antiHyde 2008-03-06 03:42AM | 0 recs
Re: NRCC Blows Nearly One Third of its CoH on IL-1

Foster is pounding back. My mailbox has been full of big glossy flyers--and the most recent flyer from Foster is a screaming "Jim Oberweis wants to raise the retirement age to 72!

That's a smashing left hook. Taxes are not what people are worried about out here. Jobs, health care, and 4 buck a gallon gas are what people are worried about.

And Jim Oberweis is widely despised as a rich boy who's decided he wants to buy poliical office.

A faceless Republican might have had a chance, but I don't think Oberweis does.

by pbg 2008-03-06 05:05AM | 0 recs


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