Dems retrench to protect incumbents

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is shifting its ad spending plans to protect vulnerable incumbents and double down on a few top pickup opportunities, moving money away from a number of districts they'd once hoped to target.

According to details shared with The Hill, the committee is adding resources to protect vulnerable Reps. William Enyart (D-Ill.), Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) and Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) and add more resources to target Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Iowa's open 3rd District seat.

Democrats are waving the white flag in protecting the seat of retiring Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.) and cutting ad reservations that had been planned to support of filmmaker Aaron Woolf (D) against former Bush administration staffer Elise Stefanik (R). The DCCC is also giving up on targeting Reps. David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), canceling reservations in their districts for the final two weeks of the campaign.

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The committee is scaling back reservations that were planned at targeting Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Steve King (R-Iowa), and Republican-leaning open seats in suburban Detroit and Philadelphia. All were at one time viewed by the committee as promising opportunities.

The DCCC has raised more money this cycle than the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Democratic outside groups have been outspending their GOP opponents at this point. But Republican outside groups have been increasing their ad buys in recent weeks.

"In the face of millions of dollars from outside Republican groups aggressively pouring into our races, House Democrats are fortifying our vulnerable incumbents and focusing in on top-tier competitive races," said DCCC Communications Director Emily Bittner.

Republicans cheered the news.

“Nancy Pelosi has hit the panic button, and she's doing everything she can to stop the bleeding by consolidating her millions and playing defense in seats President Obama actually won," said NRCC spokesman Daniel Scarpinato. "The fact that Democrats are retreating in key swing battleground districts shows just what a disaster their candidates and policies have been."

The DCCC had already added resources in recent weeks to protect Reps. Ami BeraAmi BeraNRCC upgrades 11 'Young Guns' candidates House votes to restrict IRS hires and funding Rep. Ellison challenges Ryan to bring Muslim guest to SOTU MORE (D-Calif.), Ann KirkpatrickAnn KirkpatrickThe Trail 2016: Sanders who? McCain campaign blocks own ad from YouTube Poll: McCain locked in tough reelection fight MORE (D-Ariz.), Pete GallegoPete P. GallegoTexas Dem seeks 2016 rematch for House Former Texas rep. eyes comeback Immigration action jolts '16 races MORE (D-Texas), Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.) and Cheri BustosCheri BustosHow Rep. Eric Swalwell became the Snapchat king of Congress EMILY's List names incumbent Dems it will fundraise for Biden to headline House Dems' retreat: report MORE (D-Ill.) and to target Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), as well as open seats in Arkansas and West Virginia. 

This post was updated at 3:55 p.m.

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