The Democratic National Committee, along with allied super PACs, spent more than a quarter-billion dollars in a vain attempt to win three Senate seats, that were believed by many political experts, to have always been out of reach.
In the meantime, according to election results to date, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is set to preside over a much smaller Democratic majority than she — and most pollsters — had predicted ahead of Tuesday’s elections.
“Democrats spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars, in a futile bid, to pick up longshot Senate seats in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Texas,” the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday.
“The campaigns of Kentucky’s, Amy McGrath, South Carolina’s, Jaime Harrison, and Texas’s, M.J. Hegar, burned through nearly $200 million, and outside groups backing them, spent an additional $60 million boosting the three candidates,” the outlet noted further.
Those figures amount to more money than was spent on the $240 million spent during the 1996 presidential election, between three major candidates — President Bill Clinton, GOP challenger, Sen. Bob Dole (Kansas), and Reform Party candidate and billionaire, Ross Perot.
At the end of the night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), each beat their opponent by double digits.
Meanwhile, in the House, Democrats and Pelosi confidently strode into Tuesday, predicting a pickup of anywhere from five to 15 additional seats from Republicans.
“We’re well-positioned to have a good night,” Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), head of her party’s campaign wing, told reporters just hours before polls closed Tuesday.
Instead, however, the GOP appears poised to gain a half-dozen seats, while in several other races, Democratic candidates appear to be on life support, The Hill reported.
Democrats are expected to retain their majority, but come January, when the new Congress is sworn in, that majority will be smaller, leaving the party to answer tough questions regarding its leadership.
After claiming the party would do well “deep into Trump country,” Democrats were unable to knock off a single GOP House member, who was running for reelection. That said, the party did manage to pick up two open North Carolina seats, after statewide redistricting turned them blue, as well as a seat in Georgia, following the retirement of Republican Rep. Rob Woodall, whose seat was considered vulnerable.
Democrat losses occurred in very diverse parts of the country. For example, 15-term Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, lost his rural Minnesota seat to a former lieutenant governor, Michelle Fischbach, by 13 points, after she successfully linked him to leftist, Pelosi.
And, first-term Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn, lost her suburban Oklahoma City seat, to Republican Stephanie Bice, a state senator, in what was one of the country’s most contested House races.
Two first-term Democrats in Miami-Dade County, Florida — Reps. Donna Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary under Clinton, and Debbie Murcarsel-Powell, lost their seats.
So — what happened?
“Part of it, is incorrect assumptions about how minority voters will perform, based on previous elections. Democrats can no longer take Black and Latino voters for granted,” former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), a Cuban-American, who once represented one of the Miami-Dade districts, told The Hill.
Bustos, who represents a rural Illinois district President Donald Trump won in 2016, was also trailing her opponent.
Politico Playbook noted, that Tuesday “was an abject disaster for Democrats in Washington.”
“To imagine the amount of soul-searching and explaining the party will have to do, after Tuesday, is absolutely dizzying. The infighting will be bloody — as it should be. We fielded text after text from Hill Democrats Tuesday night, and early Wednesday morning, with existential questions about their leadership and the direction of their party,” the email to subscribers, added.
Author: Jon Dougherty