Staying on offense: That Democrats would have to spend money in Cicilline's district, which gave President Obama 65 percent of the vote in 2008, speaks to a deeper success Republicans have had. While a new majority's instinct after a wave election is to defend their incumbents, Republicans this year have continued to pursue Democratic-held seats.
And to judge by the way Democrats are spending their campaign cash, it's working. The DCCC had spent money in 43 districts through the end of last week, according to data culled from Federal Election Commission records. Of those districts, 16 are currently held by Democrats. (That doesn't include the two races in which an incumbent Democrat is running against an incumbent Republican after redistricting combined their districts.)
The $315,000 the DCCC is spending to defend Cicilline, or the $1 million Democrats have spent defending Rep. Mike McIntyre and open seats in Connecticut and Illinois, is money that isn't being spent to prosecute a case against a Republican incumbent. All told, Democrats have spent $8.5 million on races they currently hold.
Advertising early: ...
Through the end of last week, the NRCC had spent far more on advertising than the DCCC, which had scheduled its advertising for the stretch run. So far, the NRCC has spent more than $55 million on television advertisements in 49 races, while the DCCC spent about $34 million in 43 races.
Such a bet carries certain risks. Republicans are banking on well-financed candidates being able to sustain themselves over the final weeks of a campaign, and on other Republican super PACs and outside groups filling in the gaps. But at a moment when money is flooding into the political system, Democrats have been outspent in key races so far.