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 ReidKavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow Dems can’t ‘Bork’ Kavanaugh, and have only themselves to blame Dem senator: Confidential documents would 'strongly bolster' argument against Kavanaugh's nomination 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 AyotteGOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony Tributes pour in for John McCain MORE (N.H.) and Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight 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 WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race 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 PortmanGraham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' Overnight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan group wants to lift Medicaid restriction on substance abuse treatment 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 JohnsonKavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday Kavanaugh furor intensifies as calls for new testimony grow House panel advances DHS cyber vulnerabilities bills 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 BennetOvernight Health Care: Senators target surprise medical bills | Group looks to allow Medicaid funds for substance abuse programs | FDA launches anti-vaping campaign for teens Bipartisan senators unveil proposal to crack down on surprise medical bills Multiple NFL players continue on-field protests during national anthem 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.