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 ReidThe Trumpification of the federal courts Trump to rally evangelicals after critical Christianity Today editorial Left presses 2020 Democrats to retake the courts from Trump 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 fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (N.H.) and Patrick ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA 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 WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns 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 PortmanHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Bipartisan group of senators introduces legislation to boost state cybersecurity leadership Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico 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 JohnsonHillicon Valley: Barr asks Apple to unlock Pensacola shooter's phone | Tech industry rallies behind Google in Supreme Court fight | Congress struggles to set rules for cyber warfare with Iran | Blog site Boing Boing hacked Congress struggles on rules for cyber warfare with Iran Senators set for briefing on cyber threats from Iran 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 BennetSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Klobuchar on missing campaigning for impeachment: 'I can do two things at once' 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.