I posted yesterday on the win-loss record of two Republican outside groups that played heavily in congressional races: the American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund. But it wasn’t just the GOP that got outside-spending help in the battle for control of the House, and the Democratic group House Majority PAC amassed an easily better-than-even record of wins and losses in 2012.
Of the 52 races where House Majority PAC spent significantly, 26 have been called for the Democrat and 20 have been called for the Republican. Six have not yet been called, but have Democrats leading.
Currently, that’s a 57 percent winning record. If the remaining six races fall into the Democratic column, that number shoots up to 62 percent.
The group invested in more or less every top-tier race of the cycle, spending $1.5 million to elect Democrat Julia Brownley in California’s 26th District, another $1.5 million to beat GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in Minnesota, $1.1 million to oust New York Rep. Nan Hayworth and just over $1 million each against defeated Illinois Republicans Judy Biggert and Robert Dold.
The single biggest House Majority PAC expenditure came in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, where the group shelled out $2.4 million against freshman GOP Rep. Allen West. West currently trails his Democratic challenger, but the race has not been called and West is refusing to concede.
There were some costly defeats, too: HMP put $1.4 million into Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton’s reelection campaign, only to see her lose to fellow Rep. Jim Renacci. And it spent north of $900,000 in unsuccessful efforts to beat Republican Reps. Steve King of Iowa and Mike Coffman of Colorado.
All told, HMP spent $20 million in races where Democrats won or are leading, and just under $10 million in races where Democrats lost.
The size of the House battlefield means that, unlike the presidential race and Senate races, outside groups on both sides can win a majority of the campaigns they choose to engage in, and that’s what happened this year in the fight for control of Congress. Democrats gained seats – though it’s yet clear exactly how many – but Republicans maintained control by a comfortable margin.
Heading into 2014, there’s no particular reason to think the independent spenders on either side would have a reason to scale back the efforts that paid off this time.
From POLITICO on November 9, 2012.