Democratic Party officials are sending a wake-up call to the party's operatives, allies and grassroots supporters, saying they could be vastly outspent by Republican-leaning outside interest groups in November's midterm elections.
A four-page memorandum circulating widely among Democrats estimates that conservative interest groups, including the newly-minted American Crossroads, could collectively spend upwards of $300 million on the fall campaigns -- a far larger sum than in previous election cycles. Democrats have been slow to recognize the impending threat of such third-party groups, but have now concluded that conservative groups are likely to dramatically outspend liberal groups this cycle, said one Democratic official.
Over the past few weeks, top Democratic Party strategists have been passed a chart by a concerned, well-respected operative underscoring the daunting task they face in the 2010 elections.
On the left hand side of the chart is a list of ten Republican aligned institutions, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the Family Research Council. Next to it is a column listing the amount of money each group has pledged to spend by Election Day. A third column on the right details what those groups actually spent in 2008 on federal elections.
The number at the bottom delivers the key message. If their pledges are fulfilled, these ten groups will unleash more than $200 million in election-focused spending -- roughly $37 million more than every single independent group spent on the 2008 presidential campaign combined. This time around, almost every single penny will be going to Republican candidates or causes.