Campaign spending lessons from the 2018 midterms

Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) retired this past election cycle.


New York State Republican Senate Campaigns outspent Democrat candidates for State Senate by nearly three million dollars — and still lost eight seats in the 2018 midterm elections.

Much of these funds were spent defending State Senate seats vacated by long-term incumbents including $415,377 spent to retain the seat being vacated by Senator John DeFrancisco and $378,593 spent in an unsuccessful effort to retain the seat being vacated by Senator John Bonacic.

These facts support the guidance to the Republican Party I made in previous posts. First, Republican efforts in the State Senate were hampered because numerous Republican state senators chose not to run for reelection. In order to prevent further losses in the State Senate that would hand complete control of redistricting over to Democrats, Republicans must maximize usage of the incumbency advantage, and thus, all Republican State Senators Must Run for Reelection, not Other Offices.

Meanwhile, while cash was pouring into Republican State Senate campaigns, Assembly Republicans were largely ignored. Much of the money spent on State Senate Campaigns was wasted on elections they lost. If funds would have been more equally divided between the Assembly and Senate the GOP wouldn’t have lost any worse in the State Senate, but likely would have made significant gains in the Assembly. As I previously wrote, Republican Donors Must Stop Neglecting the Assembly.

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