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Politics

NRCC Plans to Go After Joe Garcia, Protect Steve Southerland

June 17, 2014 - 6:00pm
Republicans are looking to expand their majority in the U.S. House, announcing on Tuesday they are making their first ad buys of the general election, spending around $30 million in races across the nation including two in Florida.


The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) unveiled its first gameplan for the 2014 elections as they look to spend $30 million in 26 races. The NRCC intends to spend around $19 million against 19 vulnerable Democrat incumbents while spending $11 million to defend seven Republican congressmen.

"Democrats in competitive districts will be hitting the panic button today," insisted Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Tuesday.

Republicans said on Tuesday they hoped to pick up 12 seats across the nation to expand their majority in the U.S. House.

In Florida, the NRCC is looking to pick up a seat currently held by a Democrat while protecting a Republican congressman. Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., can expect to face heavy Republican fire this year as he looks to defend his seat. The NRCC is planning to spend $1.4 million against him. But the NRCC did not include U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., on its initial target list despite the freshman Democrat representing a swing district. The NRCC is planning to spend, as of now, $900,000 to help U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., who is facing a strong Democratic challenger in Gwen Graham. Staff from the NRCC stressed that their planned ad buys could change in the summer and fall.

But even as they need to pick up 17 seats to flip the House, Democrats insisted they were in good shape as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) already lined up $44 million to run in 36 districts. But that includes 19 seats currently held by endangered Democrats.

These reservations show that even while national Republicans are racing to reward candidates and incumbents who are loyal supporters of their out-of-touch agenda, they cant match Democrats expansive battlefield and are giving up hope on races across the country, said Josh Schwerin, a spokesman for the DCCC, on Tuesday. Instead of crowing about their 12-seat pickup prediction, maybe the NRCC should have spent more time recruiting strong candidates and building strong campaigns in districts that they have now abandoned.

In late May, when it announced its first ad buys, the DCCC planned to spend $970,000 to help Garcia and $785,000 against Southerland.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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