DCCC: Where they spent, and how they did

By far, the best site for results in this election has been The New York Times. Head over to their House results page and you’ll find their “Electoral Explorer” feature, which allows you to view districts based on a number of criteria — Hispanic population, senior citizen population, median income, and the amount spent by each party in a given district, for example.

The map tells a very interesting story about party spending on the Democratic side. Of the 50 districts where the DCCC spent the most, they scored a net loss of 33 seats. That number is misleading — it’s a lot like saying that teams lose when they shoot lots of three-pointers, when in fact teams shoot a lot of three pointers when they’re losing. You’d expect the Democratic Party to spend the most money wherever the greatest danger exists.

But the quality of their investments in this election varied. Their best big one, perhaps, was the $1.6 million they poured into VA-11 to save Rep. Gerry Connolly, D, including  $1 million at the last minute. He appears to have survived by 900 votes.

The DCCC’s offensive investments seem, in retrospect, to have paid off poorly. They blew $1.75 million trying to take over Senator-elect Mark Kirk’s seat in IL-10. They fell short, with the same candidate who failed to beat Kirk in 2008. They spent over $1.4 million trying to take over FL-25 and fell 10 points short. It did, however, cost them less than $1 million to knock off Rep. Charles Djou, R-Hawaii.

Their defensive expenditures are difficult to second-guess, but you might look at them and conclude that they weren’t aggressive enough with triage. Their single largest expenditure, of nearly $1.8 million, was spent trying to save Rep. Marion Berry’s seat in AR-1, a cause that most pundits believed hopeless. And it was — their candidate lost by 8 points.

They spent nearly as much on the open WA-3 seat of retiring Rep. Brian Baird, D, which they lost by 6.4 points. Reps. Zack Space, D-Ohio, and Frank Kratovil, D-Md., lost by 14 and 13 points, respectively, despite $1.5 million infusions in each district. The Democrats spent a combined $2.7 million to lose two Michigan districts, neither of which was very close in the end. They spent $1.3 million and came close (but no cigar) to keeping WV-1.

There were at least eleven seats that the DCCC sensibly wrote off, knowing they were hopeless. But they also failed to spend a dime defending several incumbents who lost narrowly: Reps. Solomon Ortiz, D-Tex, Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., (pending absentees) Dan Maffei, D-N.Y., and Rick Boucher, D-Va. They came in with too little, too late for Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. There might have been no hope for Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, whose district was just too heavily Republican in the end, and who received no help from the party.

Beltway ConfidentialDCCCUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Controversy follows Amy Coney Barrett from confirmation to the Supreme Court

By Todd Ruger CQ-Roll Call Senate Republicans will finish their race Monday… Continue reading

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken different approaches to transit and infrastructure funding. <ins>(Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)</ins>
Bay Area transit has big hopes for a Biden administration

The best chance for local agencies to get relief may be a change in federal leadership

Most Read