Hoping for the best but spending for the worst, national Democrats acknowledged Friday they intend to inject a considerable $50 million this Fall in contested House, Senate and gubernatorial campaigns across the nation.
The assistance--which will consist primarily of money and services dolled out by the Democratic National Committee and the White House's political operation, Organizing for America--will begin sometime in June, and is intended to foment depressed down-ticket fundraising and voter contact programs in advance of the midterm elections.
First reported by POLITICO and later confirmed by CNN, a senior Democratic operative said the national committee will provide "an unprecedented amount of cash and field, with a special emphasis on base turnout -- youth, African-Americans, Latinos and first-time voters."
Though details remain hazy, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who in 2006 steered the House campaign committee, and his deputy Jim Messina unveiled the program Thursday at a Senate Democratic luncheon. The meeting, Chris Cillizza reports, was the first of a series intended to assuage incumbent fears that support for President Barack Obama's health care package will be a liability in November.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfieffer, who was also in attendance at the meeting, said the Administration will soon hire a "very senior official" exclusively tasked with running interference on health care, presumably to fill the vacuum created when Linda Douglas resigned earlier this month from her post as communications director of the Office of Health Reform.
The DNC's effort will augment existing programs by Democratic Hill campaign committees, who in years past had butted heads with the national committee over their perceived focus with presidential politics. In 2006, then-DNC chief Howard Dean apportioned a meager $2.4 million to competitive House and Senate races. By contrast, the DNC spent nearly $300 million on the presidential election two years prior.
Following the passage of the President's health care overhaul, the DNC reported having raised $13 million in March. The Republican National Committee, who is also expected to invest heavily this cycle, raised $11.4 million.