House Dem campaign arm jumps in with $600k buy to help save its own chief

By | October 24, 2022

House Democrats’ campaign arm is spending big to defend its chief, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, from mounting GOP threats.

The Maloney-run Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will spend just over $600,000 on air cover for him starting Tuesday as he battles challenger Michael Lawler in a more-competitive-than-expected race. That money is on top of $110,000 in support on TV from another outside group, Our Hudson, which formed earlier this year to aid Maloney in his August primary and jumped back in amid escalating Republican attacks.

The New York Democrat has said he would remove himself from any DCCC decisions regarding his race in a newly redrawn Hudson Valley seat. While the campaign chief initially downplayed the necessity of outside help, multiple Democrats said his tone has shifted in the last week after the House Republicans’ main super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, dumped millions of dollars more on the airwaves.

That GOP super PAC has now spent over $4 million on TV against Maloney, and the GOP campaign arm has spent over $480,000, according to data from AdImpact, a media tracking firm. In total, Republicans are spending some $5.6 million on-air in the district. Democrats were only spending $2.3 million before this new investment, and multiple party officials said they expect more help to arrive.

“Since day one, Chairman Maloney has been working tirelessly as a player-coach — He’s built a campaign and we’ve built an operation at the DCCC that can support that reality,” said Chris Taylor, a DCCC spokesman. “As we have with every decision this cycle, we are making investments that ensure Democrats hold our House Majority.”

The DCCC is running a hybrid ad for Maloney, meaning that it splits the cost with his campaign but must devote some of the spots to messaging against national Republicans. Running a hybrid ad allows the party to purchase air time at the lower rate candidates get instead of the more expensive rates offered to outside groups.

The 30-second ad slams Republican state legislator Lawler as a MAGA extremist and uses footage of Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the GOP leaders of the House and Senate. CBS first reported the DCCC’s spending move.

Many in the party feel they have no choice but to protect Maloney, whose loss as chair of the DCCC would be a massive embarrassment for the party. But it’s also a painful development for a Democratic caucus dealing with relatively limited resources in a midterm environment that has favored the GOP from the start.

With other at-risk Democrats sensitive to the party’s money woes, DCCC officials worked to stave off any potential anxiety from other incumbents in advance of announcing the pro-Maloney buy. The group’s executive director personally informed Democratic frontliners beforehand, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations.

Maloney allies say they are confident they can hold the seat, as long as they are able to compete with the GOP on the airwaves in the remaining weeks. His recently redrawn district is no lock, though, with voters choosing President Joe Biden over Donald Trump by about 10 points two years ago — the precise kind of seat that Democrats say they’ll need to fight to protect.