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Photo: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) gave Axios the details behind its $60.2 million buy on initial ad reservations in 13 key cities ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Why it matters: This is a massive ad spend for an outside group this early on in the election cycle, and comes right on the heels of the Congressional Leadership Fund's $48 million announcement earlier this month — signaling just how competitive these conservative groups anticipate this election cycle to be. The 13 target cities reveal which House Republican seats conservatives are most concerned about.

Be smart: The NRCC was extremely strategic in the cities it's digging its claws into.

  • A senior advisor at NRCC told Axios that they didn't specifically name the districts they're reserving, like CLF did, because they don't want to tip their hand in where they're spending.
  • But when you compare the cities they locked in against the 30 districts CLF reserved, it's clear the NRCC is filling the holes needed to light up certain districts they know will respond well to aggressive advertising — like a chess game.

Their strategy: $46.3 million will be spent on television/media ads, $10 million on digital, and $4 million on polling.

Their targets: Philly ($7.8 million); D.C. ($6.4m); Minneapolis ($6.4m); Miami ($3.2m); Pittsburgh ($3.8m); Detroit ($5.7m); Tucson ($1.94m); Las Vegas ($3.6m); San Antonio ($1.8m); Denver ($1.8m); Sacramento ($1.48m); Albany ($1.2m); and California's San Joaquin Valley ($1.2m).

  • Between the lines: Some of the key districts they're targeting are to defend seats held by incumbent House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016, like Reps. Barbara Comstock (VA-10, i.e. their D.C. buy)and David Valadao (CA-21). But they're also planning to play a good amount of offense against Democratic Reps., like Jacky Rosen (NV-03) and Ruben Kihuen (NV-04).

The bottom line: The NRCC is dropping big money in places they think the majority is either won or lost. Unlike CLF's buy, which is mostly defensive in areas with incumbents up for reelection, about a third of the NRCC's targeted districts have candidates it plans to attack.

Go deeper: No Trump Zone: Only two of 23 vulnerable Republicans want him

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.