Republicans spending $28M on TV ads in Senate battleground states

The Senate Republicans' campaign arm has begun to reserve almost $28 million in television buys ahead of what's likely to be a brutal battle over the Senate majority.

All but one of the buys are aimed at protecting vulnerable incumbents. A significant investment in Nevada, meanwhile, is part of the GOP's plans to flip the seat after Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell warns Democrats not to change filibuster rule Filibuster reform gains steam with Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump wants executive order on policing; silent on pending bills MORE (D) retires.


Television spots become more expensive as the general election moves closer, so the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is hoping to lock spots down early to stretch dollars further. Politico first reported the ad placements.

The largest investments, about $6.8 million and $6.7 million, will be spent in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, respectively, to protect GOP Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteBottom line Bottom line Bottom Line MORE (N.H.) and Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE (Penn.).

The NRSC is also spending $6.4 million in Nevada to boost the chances of defeating likely Democratic candidate Catherine Cortez Masto, Reid's handpicked successor. Rep. Joe Heck (R) is the favorite to win the GOP primary in the state.

Another $5.9 million will go to Ohio, where Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic proposal to extend 0 unemployment checks Senate Democrats offer plan to extend added jobless benefits during pandemic Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls MORE (R) faces a challenge against former Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

The group also will spend $2 million in Wisconsin to boost Republican Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Congress eyes tighter restrictions on next round of small business help Republicans fear backlash over Trump's threatened veto on Confederate names MORE's chances of beating former Sen. Russ Feingold (D).

"We know that Democrats have their sights set on our majority and we are taking nothing for granted," NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a statement.

"While the DSCC [Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee] announced today that they are hanging many of their candidates out to dry in supposedly targeted races, we are spending smartly and playing offense. That is a testament to the hard work and strong campaign efforts of our Republican Senators, who have outworked their Democrat opponents up and down the board.”

That's a reference to the DSCC's decision to spend about $40 million on offense in Ohio, New Hampshire and Florida. The group is also defending incumbent Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetHouse Democrats chart course to 'solving the climate crisis' by 2050 'The Senate could certainly use a pastor': Georgia Democrat seeks to seize 'moral moment' Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE in Colorado and Reid's vacated seat in Nevada.

The GOP is tasked with defending 24 Senate seats, with as many as nine in play. Democrats only have to defend 10 seats, and all but two are considered relatively safe by most estimates. If Democrats retain control of the White House, and the vice president's tie-breaking vote, the party needs a net gain of just four Senate seats to take over the majority.