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Election 2012: Can Democrats retake the House?

The Democrats 'drive for 25' is unrealistic as analysts predict Republicans will lose only 12 House seats in Election 2012. One GOP advantage: Conservative 'super PACs' will spend 'tens of millions.'

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Republicans believe they have a winning formulation for countering Democrats' Medicare arguments: President Obama's health-care law reduces future government spending on Medicare, the health-insurance program for seniors.

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"There's only one party that has cut Medicare for current beneficiaries – that's the Democrats," Guy Harrison, executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told re-porters at the party's national convention in August.

One other GOP advantage in the House races: money. Democrats worry about an influx of advertisements and other aid to candidates from GOP-aligned "super political-action committees," or super PACs, which are allowed to take unlimited donations.

Where $1 million is a pittance in a presidential campaign (Mitt Romney and Mr. Obama each raised well over $100 million in August alone), it can be an enormous boost in those congressional races where candidates might spend a few million dollars combined.

That wave of spending is just now beginning. The granddaddy of all conservative super PACs, Crossroads GPS, hit its first House campaign target (Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop of New York) with a share of a $2.3 million ad buy in mid-September.

Ultimately, the group will spend into the "tens of millions of dollars" on House races, says Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson. He declines to specify how many House races Crossroads GPS will target, but says its support will come via TV ads, research polling, direct mail, and phone calls.

And that's just Crossroads. Other conservative groups such as the Young Guns Action Fund, founded by former staffers of House majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, led by former Sen. Norm Coleman (R), will also be in the mix.


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