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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

4 mins ago - World

Netanyahu doesn't want a fight with Biden over Iran — yet

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
38 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.