With a strong possibility that Democrats could lose control of the Senate in the midterm elections, they are investing heavily in voter turnout efforts.
In states too close to call like Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and North Carolina, Democrats are making much greater investments in the ground game than Republicans.
Not all spending is captured in Federal Election Commission data, but the spending trends are clear. The Democrats’ spending advantage is greatest in states where they’ve had time to organize and plan for competitive races, and they are using that edge to register new voters; publicize absentee and early voting options; and, of course, make sure supporters actually go to the polls on Election Day. The efforts extend to states where the Republicans more recently made Senate contests more competitive, like Michigan.
Democrats have invested several million dollars in both North Carolina and Colorado for this ground game. Republican spending in those states so far has tended to focus on broadcast advertisements and direct mail.Michael McDonald writes at The Huffington Post:
Fall has just begun and voters are already casting ballots in key states holding U.S. Senate races that will likely determine which party will be the Senate majority. So far, at least 18,000 people have already cast mail ballots as of Friday, September 26, 38 days out from Election Day on November 4.
Election officials in these states release early voting data that provide clues as to which party currently has an edge. (I track these statistics here.) The $60 million voter mobilization "Bannock Street project" is a key component of the DSCC's strategy to expand the electorate just enough in the most closely contested states to lift the Democrats' candidates over the top. The fingerprints of these efforts can be seen in these data, as well.
The DSCC's investment appears to be paying off. There are signs Republicans are not going to cede early voting, but their efforts are being swamped by the Democrats' mobilization drives.