GOP groups eventually figured out how to play ball, and got into the game late in the '04 campaign season, but with some strong results in several swing states in the Presidential election, which held off the Democrats in the closing weeks of the fall campaign.
This year, reports are that the GOP groups have learned well, and are leading the TV war this time around:
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 26, Republican-leaning groups spent $13.8 million on advertising while advertising on behalf of Democrats totaled $6.3 million, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group. Throw in the advertising the political parties are paying for, and the Republicans have spent $5 on ads for every $3 spent by Democrats.
That is a significant reversal from 2004, when Democratic groups outnumbered and outspent Republican organizations. Now, some Democratic officials are wondering when their deep-pocketed liberal allies will step in to help.
"If it's there, I haven't seen it," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "I can't tell you what happened from '04 to '06 and why some decided either not to participate in this election or not be at the same level."
- Associated Press, 9/30/2006