Unnamed GOP strategists tell the New York Times that there are "several" Republican House members in bad shape who "must recover quickly or risk losing funding," and they specifically name California Rep. Mimi Walters and Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam as two potential triage victims. Additionally, these operatives say they may soon redirect money from the open Pennsylvania's 7th District to instead defend two nearby incumbents, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania's 1st and Tom MacArthur of New Jersey's 3rd.
We'll start with a look at Walters' race. Major outside groups are still spending heavily in this Irvine-based seat, which swung from 55-43 Romney to 50-44 Clinton, and the NRCC even added $600,000 to their buy a few weeks ago. However, there have been signs that Walters is not in good shape. Ominously, she recently released an internal poll but only shared selective parts of it, indicating she didn't like the overall numbers. At the same time, two independent polls taken in September showed Democrat Katie Porter ahead, though interestingly, the Democratic polls we've seen have given Porter a smaller edge.
Things look less bad for Roskam in Illinois, but that may only be because we have less data to work with. An early September Siena poll gave the incumbent a narrow 45-44 edge over Democrat Sean Casten in a suburban Chicago seat that swung from 53-45 Romney to 50-43 Clinton. However, Casten recently released his own poll giving himself a 49-44 edge, and this Times story makes it sound like the GOP doesn't have great numbers to counter with. The NRCC still is spending here for now at least, and Roll Call reports that they just launched a joint $700,000 buy with Roskam.
Finally, this report provides the latest sign that national Republicans are feeling queasy about Marty Nothstein's campaign for Pennsylvania's 7th, an open Lehigh Valley seat that voted 53-46 Obama and 49-48 Clinton. The NRCC recently said they'd reserved $1.5 million to aid him against Democrat Susan Wild, but they notably declined to even say when those ads would run. Bloomberg recently reported that the spots were scheduled to start on Oct. 2 but have yet to air, and this Times piece makes it sound like Nothstein will be lucky if they ever do.
Speaking of triage, Daily Kos has been tracking the House races where the big-money players have decided to reduce their ad reservations or stop them altogether—either because they feel supremely confident, or because they've concluded their candidate is doomed (though sometimes such moves can be ambiguous, as we explain here). We've now made one small but important change to our tracker whereby we've separated the moves that are favorable for Democrats from those that are positive for Republicans.
For instance, the NRCC recently canceled its ad reservations in Arizona's 2nd and Texas' 23rd, but for very different reasons. In Arizona, Republican Lea Marquez Peterson, who was already facing a tough battle for a GOP-held seat that Clinton won, badly trailed in the only poll that's been released, so we’ve classified this move as favoring Democrats. However, Texas Rep. Will Hurd has polled very well in his contest, and with major Democratic groups so far not advertising here, we've categorized this as a move that’s good news for the GOP.