The Democratic National Committee (DNC) directed about $2 million more to state parties last year than its Republican counterpart, according to a new analysis of campaign filings.
That's not for want of cash, however: the RNC outraised the DNC by $18.4 million in 2013.
While the DNC contributed some money to every state last year, including reliably blue states like Hawaii and Vermont, the RNC skipped over many of those blue states, as well as some deep red states like Mississippi and Kansas.
The AP reports that the RNC’s contribution strategy seems more geared towards planning for the 2016 presidential race and 2014 gubernatorial contests, while the DNC appears more focused on maintaining its current political infrastructure and the 2014 cycle.
Almost 70 percent of the RNC’s investments were made in states with likely competitive gubernatorial races this cycle. For Democrats, $5 million was sent to states President Obama won last cycle, with the bulk of that going to states with a Republican governor and another $2 million spent to maintain the party’s voter databases.
That breakdown is likely to shift, however, as the committees ramp up for the midterm elections. Democrats have pledged a renewed focus on their turnout operations after they suffered a devastating loss in a special Florida House election earlier this month.
And the RNC has been investing in states with competitive Senate races, an effort that’s likely to increase as the map expands for Republicans. The Associated Press reported earlier this month that the committee is adding more than a dozen staffers and planning to open 12 field offices in Colorado, now that top-tier candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R) has jumped in the race to challenge Sen. Mark Udall (D).
Still, some of the committees’ early investment decisions come as a surprise looking towards the 2014 Senate landscape. The RNC invested no money in Alaska in 2013, despite the fact that Mitt Romney won the state by double digits in 2012 and Republicans have made Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich a top target this cycle.
But Republicans are facing a competitive primary there, which some operatives fear could jeopardize their shot at the seat. Begich has maintained a consistent lead over every potential Republican opponent in the polls.
The RNC outspent the DNC in North Carolina and Louisiana, two more of the GOP’s top targets for 2014, but spent slightly less than the DNC in Arkansas, another Democratic-held red state the GOP hopes to flip this cycle.
The DNC heavily outspent the RNC in Georgia last year, and slightly outspent it in Kentucky, the top two red states where Democrats are hoping to orchestrate pickups this cycle.
Both parties made some of their most substantial investments in swing states, like Pennsylvania and Florida, but Virginia received the most national party committee cash in 2013. Virginia's receipts topped out at more than $2.3 million from the RNC and $1.5 million from the DNC, largely due to the competitive gubernatorial race there last year.