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 ReidBiden fails to break GOP 'fever' Nevada governor signs law making state first presidential primary Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (D) retires.

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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 AyotteDemocrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Sununu seen as top recruit in GOP bid to reclaim Senate Lobbying world MORE (N.H.) and Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote 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 PortmanWhite House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure This week: Senate set for voting rights fight 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 JohnsonOvernight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal Overnight Defense: Senate panel delays Iraq war powers repeal | Study IDs Fort Hood as least-safe base for female soldiers | Pentagon loosens some COVID-19 restrictions 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 BennetDemocrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit Congress needs to fix the broken market for antibiotic development Schumer vows to only pass infrastructure package that is 'a strong, bold climate bill' 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.