One of the most surprising expenditures by the NRCC over the last week popped up in Arizona's 2nd District, sprawling rural turf in the state's northeast corner that became considerably redder in redistricting. In fact, at 53-45 Trump—compared to 50-48 Biden under the old lines—this is one of the toughest seats Democrats have to defend this cycle, yet Republicans just threw down more than $900,000 on TV ads to bolster their effort to oust Rep. Tom O'Halleran.
The NRCC's spot is unremarkable, mostly just linking O'Halleran to Nancy Pelosi—perhaps the GOP's most frequent line of attack against Democrats over the last two decades. What stands out, rather, is the heavy spending in such a red district, though there are many reasons, of course, why Republicans might be taking this step. Above all else, they may simply be playing it safe, especially since their nominee, former Navy SEAL Eli Crane, had just a fraction of O'Halleran's cash-on-hand after an expensive primary that only concluded on Aug. 2, and the Phoenix media market (which covers most of this district) is not a cheap one.
But it's also possible Republicans seeing worrying polls that reflect the changing political environment since the Dobbs decision. Not only have Democrats outperformed Biden's margins by an average of 6 points in the five House special elections since the Supreme Court overturned Roe, TargetSmart's Tom Bonier also says that Arizona is one of the states with the largest increases in the share of women as newly registered voters during that timeframe. If O'Halleran does, in fact, have a fighting chance to keep his seat, then Democrats may have a shot at retaining the House.
Abortion rights, climate change, and gun safety are all on the ballot this fall. Click to start writing postcards to Democratic-leaning voters in targeted House districts today.