Politico reported Wednesday that the Democratic Congressional Campaign has reserved almost $2.5 million in advertising time in the Tampa television market, and that the Buchanan-Fitzgerald race is a "possible" target for the money. Previously, the DCCC has identified the race as key to its efforts to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and has promised Fitzgerald fund-raising and other support.
The Tampa ad buy, according to Politico, is part of more than $32 million in time the DCCC has reserved in key television markets across the country:
The ad buy, the earliest in Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee history, stretches from the Northeast to the Mountain West and covers dozens of congressional districts in 14 states — most of them key presidential battlegrounds.
A strategist familiar with the buy said that with presidential candidates, outside interest groups and well-funded super PACs poised to unleash an unprecedented flood of ads, the committee wanted to lock in TV advertising early, before inventory is bought out and rates become more expensive. Operatives from both parties say they expect ad prices to skyrocket by summer.
Democrats, in particular, can’t afford to wait. While the party has been successful in keeping pace in fundraising with the National Republican Congressional Committee — the DCCC outraised the House GOP campaign arm last year despite being in the minority — the NRCC heads into the final seven months of the campaign with $4 million more cash on hand.
According to the latest Federal Election Commission figures, the NRCC had $27.1 million cash on hand through the end of March, compared with $22.8 million for the Democrats.
Democrats say the purchase by the DCCC’s independent expenditure arm is just a first investment — money can be moved or added later. Still, there is a sense of urgency to their efforts, driven by the uphill climb confronting the party, particularly in the wake of a redistricting round that solidified the GOP majority.
Democrats need to net 25 seats to retake the House but a gain of that many seats has occurred just six times in the past 20 election cycles — and just once in a presidential election year.
And the Republican response?
Behind the scenes, House Republicans are also taking steps to prepare for the coming fall campaign season. The NRCC recently tapped Joanna Burgos, a former committee spokeswoman, to oversee its independent expenditure effort, and GOP officials say they are also exploring the possibility of laying down an early TV buy.
Republicans said the early Democratic move smacked of desperation.
“We always knew Nancy Pelosi was going to have an uphill climb back to the speaker’s chair, but nobody could’ve predicted the DCCC would go into a prevent defense down five touchdowns in the first half,” said Paul Lindsay, an NRCC spokesman. “When you’re spending money on Larry Kissell and Mike McIntyre, it’s not going to be a pleasant election cycle for House Democrats.”NRCC spokesman Nat Sillin told the Bradenton Herald: “We always knew the DCCC was going to spend millions attacking members who have fought against President Obama’s job-destroying tax and spend agenda that has made Florida’s economy worse.”