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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Labor Day has traditionally marked the official start of midterm Congressional campaigning as voters settle into their fall routines and start watching more TV (where they could see a deluge of campaign ads). Not anymore.

The bottom line: Democrats have been protesting since President Trump's election. The Democratic Party jumped in early this cycle to harness that energy into voting, but Republicans were watching that too — forcing both parties to start their midterm campaigning earlier than ever before.

The Republican National Committee started putting campaign staff in the field five months before the election — 540 staffers in 27 battleground states, the most they've ever had that early on.

  • The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC that works to keep Republican control of the House, has been knocking on doors and contacting voters (over 21 million) since February 2017. Their first ad reservations were placed in the spring, compared to last cycle when the first buy was not until August.

The Democratic National Committee made its largest investment in grants to state parties in January to prepare for the midterms.

  • The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hired full-time political organizers in February 2017 in 20 critical Republican-held districts. Per Washington Post, that's "an unusually early investment in House races that do not even have declared candidates yet."

By the numbers: In Senate races so far Democratic candidates and groups have already spent $17 million on ads highlighting health care, while Republicans have spent $10.5 million on ads praising President Trump and $14 million on ads touting the GOP tax law, per USA Today.

What's next: The day after the midterms, we'll be 454 days out from the Iowa caucuses.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
34 mins ago - Technology

The smart city comes of age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Better sensors, more intelligent AI, and the coming wave of 5G wireless could finally fulfill the promise of the smart city.

Why it matters: How we organize, run and power our cities will be increasingly important in the years ahead, as urbanization expands and the damaging effects of climate change compound.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
9 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."