Editor’s Note: For more on the high-stakes fight for the House, watch “Inside Politics Sunday with Manu Raju” at 8 a.m. ET and 11 a.m. ET.

House Democrats are aiming for just four more seats to win back the majority this fall – and their big-spending outside group is prepared to spend more than it ever has to pick them up.

House Majority PAC, the super PAC linked to Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, is reserving $146 million in an initial round of TV ads and $40 million in digital advertising in nearly 60 media markets across the country as Democrats prepare for a furious battle with Republicans over the limited number of House races that will determine the next majority.

The details of their ad strategy, first shared with CNN, provide the clearest roadmap yet on how Democrats view their path to the majority. The group’s leaders said most of their money would be focused on pickup opportunities – including in 16 districts that Joe Biden carried in 2020 now occupied by Republicans – but also the seats that Democrats have to defend, including five in districts that Donald Trump won.

But the group, whose 2024 investment surpasses the $102 million initially reserved in ads in the 2022 cycle and the $41 million in the 2020 cycle, said it was making its largest investment ever to flood key districts with an aggressive ad campaign, including attacks against Republicans on abortion and the collapse of a bipartisan border security deal.

The group’s leader said the campaign would also target key voting blocs – such as Hispanic, Asian American and Black voters – as well as swing voters put off by Trump and the chaos in the House.

“We need four seats to win back the majority. That’s it,” Mike Smith, president of House Majority PAC, told CNN. “It’s a very tough four seats. Every single one of those is going to be trench warfare. We’re going have to invest a lot of money, hence the $186 million, but there’s a clear path to doing it.”

The number, Smith said, could grow as more money is spent later in the election cycle in these key races, arguing the initial investment amounts to “laying down the marker.” The bulk of the money will be spent to flip seats in New York and California, a path Smith said “100%” represented the clearest way to the majority. But he cited other pickup opportunities in Arizona, Michigan and even Montana for the seat held by Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke. (Some ad reservations could be canceled at a later date, which party committees and candidates often do as they reassess their priorities.)

No matter what happens, Smith said, the next majority is likely to be narrow given that gerrymandered districts have created fewer swing seats in the chamber.

“With redistricting, it has narrowed the battlefield in terms of what it looks like,” Smith said. “I would anticipate that it will be a relatively narrow majority. … The universe has gotten smaller in terms of the most competitive seats, for sure.”

As part of the ad buy, House Majority PAC plans to drop $18 million in the Los Angeles media market, partly aimed at GOP Reps. Young Kim, Michelle Steel, Ken Calvert and Mike Garcia while defending a seat left open by Democratic Rep. Katie Porter’s decision not to run for reelection. The group reserved $4.2 million in the Fresno media market that could be used against GOP Reps. John Duarte and David Valadao, who could be hit with another $1.7 million reserved in the market of Bakersfield, California.

The group is also planning to drop another $16.1 million in New York City, some of which could hit Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota and New Jersey’s Tom Kean Jr. In upstate New York, where the group has roughly $5 million reserved, GOP Reps. Marc Molinaro and Brandon Williams are expected to be targeted.

Among the numerous other targets: roughly $2 million likely to knock off Rep. Jen Kiggans of Virginia, $5.8 million at David Schweikert of Arizona and $2.4 million at Juan Ciscomani of Arizona. About $2 million is slated for Omaha, Nebraska, a sign that Rep. Don Bacon is about to be pummeled by attacks. The group has reserved $5.7 million in Philadelphia, which could target Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick and defend Democratic Rep. Susan Wild. Another $10 million could go after GOP Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon and defend Democratic Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of nearby Washington state.

The Democratic super PAC is the first major House committee to announce its plans for the fall advertising campaign. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC that was linked to ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy and now tied to Speaker Mike Johnson, is still finalizing its ad reservations for the fall.

But the GOP super PAC, which — along with its affiliated outside group has raised $142 million for the cycle so far — is confident that Republicans can hang onto the majority.

“We have incredibly strong Republican incumbents in the toughest races, far better recruits, and a political environment that seems to favor Republicans,” Dan Conston, president of the Congressional Leadership Fund, told CNN. “If the resources are there, we will hold the majority this fall.”

House races are often dictated by the top of the ticket in a presidential election year. And the weakness of both Trump and Biden presents challenges for both parties. In particular, for Democrats in districts Trump won, Biden could drag them down even further given his sagging poll numbers.

But Smith said he’s not worried about Biden’s numbers, pointing to Democrats’ success in recent election cycles while contending that his presence at the top of the ticket will be a “value added.”

“His approval ratings were very similar to what they were before, and we were able to outperform,” Smith said.

Biden’s candidacy could be tricky for the five Democrats in Trump districts – in Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington state – and four open seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in Michigan, California and Virginia.

Among the big bucks that the group plans to spend to defend those seats: roughly $3.7 million to help Rep. Jared Golden in Maine, $5.4 million in part to defend Marcy Kaptur in Ohio and $4.1 million to help Matt Cartwright in Pennsylvania. Nothing has been reserved in Alaska to help Mary Peltola, but Smith said each media market has a different set of circumstances dictating when to place an ad buy, suggesting that Alaska would be on the group’s list for later in the cycle.

And the group is prioritizing making early ad reservations in states with key Senate races and presidential battlegrounds since ad time will be scarce in the fall.

For instance, Zinke’s seat in Montana is one that Democrats believe could be in play given the high-profile Senate race there between Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Tim Sheehy. The group has reserved roughly $4.2 million in Montana media markets.

“Montana-01 is a seat that I think that we can actually pick up,” Smith said. “It’s a seat that Sen. Tester, probably the best senator that’s ever existed in the state of Montana, is going to turn out Democratic voters there. We’re investing already at this point in terms of registering more Democrats.”

One thing Democrats are prepared for: a furious GOP effort to hit them on immigration and Biden’s handling of the border. Yet they saw a recent victory in a New York bellwether seat – once occupied by George Santos – that they picked up after the Democratic candidate, Tom Suozzi, was pummeled on immigration. Suozzi sought to capitalize on the GOP decision to kill a border security deal in the Senate.

“It mitigates any type of opportunity that Republicans theoretically would have had, and the fact that they refused to take up the bill is just basically a political gift,” Smith said.

CNN’s Sheden Tesfaldet and Natalie Grim contributed to this report.


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