Republicans are campaigning for the majority of the Senate just as aggressively as they are for the White House. Recent reports show that the Republican Party has already committed at least $17 million to television commercials in key states such as Nebraska and Missouri. These ads hardly vary from state to state, with the same message attacking the Democratic candidate who is accused of supporting business-smothering regulations and looking to increase taxes and reduce Medicare benefits through “Obamacare.” More details of the ads running in specific states can be found in this New York Times article.
This Republican focus on the Senate reflects their desire to control the legislative branch to alleviate the blockage in the Senate by the Democratic majority. The main areas they hope to reform are budget and fiscal-related issues. This tactic could benefit the Republicans if a healthy percentage of voters are affected by the ads but it is still early on in the 2012 campaign to create lasting impressions. If the ads prove ineffective, millions of dollars could be wasted and could equalize the two parties’ campaign finances.
It will be interesting to see if the Republicans are able to win a Senate majority and if this early and extensive television campaigning significantly impacts these Senate races. If the campaigns successfully bring the Senate into the control of the Republicans, they will consider it money well spent. The Republicans would then be able to control both houses and pass legislation that was formerly held up in congressional gridlock. It will be a significant change no matter which candidate wins the presidency.