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House Democratic Campaign Arm Broadens TV Buy

Moving quickly to capitalize on their massive financial advantage, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved television time in nearly two dozen more House districts, bringing their total investment in competitive contests to $53 million.

The new buy encompasses 20 districts and comes ten days after the DCCC dropped an estimated $35 million on ad time in 31 House districts. (A full list of districts in the new DCCC buy is after the jump.)

It also comes on the heels of the latest fundraising figures that show the DCCC outraised the National Republican Congressional Committee $22 million to $15 million over the last three months and, more importantly, ended June with $55 million in the bank, $46.5 million more than the NRCC.

With such a massive fundraising edge, the DCCC is smartly moving to expand their target list into a series of Republican-leaning open seats and GOP incumbents representing marginal districts.

Of the 20 new districts, seven are open seats being vacated by Republicans including several strongly Republican southern seats (Alabama's 2nd district and Louisiana's 4th) where Democrats have recruited their strongest potential candidates and have the potential to pull an upset. In Alabama's 2nd the DCCC has reserved nearly $600,000 in ads while in Louisiana's 4th district the buy exceeds $700,000.

Eight districts currently held by Republican incumbents make the list including a trio of south Florida seats (Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz Balart) as well as several incumbents underperforming what should be safe seats -- New York Rep. Randy Kuhl and Idaho Rep. Bill Sali.

The remaining five districts in the buy are either held by freshman Democrats (Arizona's 8th, California's 11th, Illinois' 14th, and Mississippi's 1st) or are being vacated by a Democratic incumbent (Alabama's 5th district).

When examining all 51 districts in which the DCCC has so far reserved ad time, 34 of the districts (66 percent) are Republican held while the remaining 17 are controlled by Democrats.

Unlike elections past, however, House Democrats are focusing as much on incumbents as open seats. Of the 34 Republican seats, 17 are open while 17 are held by members. That speaks to the treacherous national environment in which the GOP currently finds itself with a far larger number of incumbents in jeopardy than previous elections.

Targeted Seat Breakdown

* An ad buy of 1000 points means the average viewer will see the ad 10 times during a given week.

 4  Dem Incumbents    8  GOP Incumbents    8  Open Seats  

District Incumbent Early Buy Amt. Early Buy Pts.
AL-02 Everett (R)-Open $598,000 10,000
AL-05 Cramer (D)-Open $678,000 8,000
AZ-08 Giffords (D) $705,000 5,000
CA-04, CA-11 Doolittle (R)-Open, McNerney (D) $2.03 M 4,650 (multiple mkts.)
FL-18, FL-21 and FL-25 Ros-Lehtinen (R), M. Diaz-Balart (R), L. Diaz-Balart (R) 1.4 M 2,400
ID-01 Sali (R) $349,000 4,000 (multiple mkts.)
IL-10 Kirk (R) $1.4 M 2,300
IL-11 Weller (R)-Open $1.6 M 4,200 (multiple mkts.)
IL-14 Foster (D) $1.02 M 2,400 (multiple mkts.)
LA-04 McCrery (R)-Open $714,000 9,000 (multiple mkts.)
MO-06 Graves (R) $798,000 5,600 (multiple mkts.)
MS-01 Childers (D) $1.06 M 10,000 (multiple mkts.)
NJ-03 Saxton (R)-Open 1.7 M 3,300 (multiple mkts.)
NY-25, NY-26, NY-29 Walsh (R)-Open, Reynolds (R)-Open, Kuhl (R) $2.7 M 20,000
WA-08 Reichert (R) $949,000 2,425

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 21, 2008; 4:26 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: McCain To Meet With Jindal


I wish they'd target Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. The man is a train wreck.

Posted by: muD | July 22, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Matt - thanks for the knowledge. I guess FL-18, -21, and -25 must all be covered by the Miami media market.

Posted by: mnteng | July 21, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

You made a report on democrats Chris, say it ain't so. My gosh, I will cut off my ponytail now, good job.

I realize that staying in-bedded with John What's his name may require some sucking up and tolerating old worn out stories. And it must be hard like Washington Post reporters sucking up to Dan Perino to retain a White House press pass but it all comes with the territory I guess.

Of course, One must be respectful of Elders you know so here are some suggestions:

Sir, are you wearing a depends under garment today Sir?

Sir, does your diaper need changing, Sir ?

Sir, may I powder your behind for you while I ask you some questions Sir ?

Posted by: Mark W. | July 21, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Ros-Lehtinen isn't going anywhere. The Diaz-Balart brothers, however are in deep trouble, having skated on little constituent service for a few cycles now.

Posted by: Matt | July 21, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

As I posted last time, the first buy was just a shot across the bow of the NRCC. Now we get to see how serious the DCCC is about ousting some R incumbents. It is interesting to see the names of Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers on the targeted list. Any Floridians out there have insight as to how vulnerable those three are?

The WA-08 buy must mean that Burner is definitely continuing her campaign despite the loss of her house.

Posted by: mnteng | July 21, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes:
"I have a DVR. I don't watch commercials. My friends download TV shows (legally through iTunes, or illegally through various methods), or they wait a few months and buy/rent the DVDs. Fewer people are watching TV commercials than ever. That's got to make these political ads less effective, and a less efficient use of money."

I would argue that people like you (with the cash and desire for DVR/TiVo) might not be the target for political ads. Even then, you might watch a live "sporting event" and be subjected to the ads. But there are a substantial number of people who don't have a DVR (or only use it infrequently), so TV ads are still going to have some impact. How many DVRs do you think there are in rural CDs like MS-01?

Posted by: mnteng | July 21, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

How many Republicans will be singing, "when the landslide brought me down ..." come Nov. 5?

Posted by: Fleur du Mal | July 21, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse



All the media money in the world can't counterbalance the potential impact of skilled computer hackers who could manipulate electronic voting software -- at the warehouse where they're stored, or even on site at the polling stations.

Or how about a wireless hack that lets a crooked poll watcher fix an election vote by vote, based on the party registration information that's right before them, just by checking the voting rolls and pushing a hidden button?

Since it's too late in the cycle for curative legislation to require a voter-verified paper trial, perhaps the Democrats should be thinking about dispatching "Election Integrity Teams" in each state, and in major urban centers.

These teams could consist of an elections attorney; a skilled computer technician; and auditors who would inspect voting machine storage locations; interview those with hands-on access; and take names.

At least that might provide some modicum of deterrence to whose who might consider tampering with the machine's computer code or electronic keycards.

The auditors would check to see what safeguards are in place to ensure the integrity of the vote, including background checks of all personnel with access to the machines or to voter registration info.

They also would check to see if the companies supplying the machines made political donations to parties or candidates in districts that use their machines. If any entity is doing such checking, I am not aware of it.

Let me repeat: The party should allocate tens of millions of dollars to the immediate establishment and deployment of these "Election Integrity Teams," even if it means spending less on advertising.

The ads do no good if the votes they attract don't count.


Posted by: scrivener | July 21, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"An ad buy of 1000 points means the average viewer will see the ad 10 times during a given week."

Unless the average viewer has Tivo or another DVR service. Then the average viewer would fast-forward past the ad 10 times during a given week.

I have a DVR. I don't watch commercials. My friends download TV shows (legally through iTunes, or illegally through various methods), or they wait a few months and buy/rent the DVDs. Fewer people are watching TV commercials than ever. That's got to make these political ads less effective, and a less efficient use of money.

Posted by: Blarg | July 21, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

burn baby, this article is about upcoming house races. Obama's name does not appear even one time. If you are going to rant, at least rant about something relevant.

Posted by: mtlynch | July 21, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Think about it. On both implicit and explicit levels, Obama's rhetoric suggests that the annoyances, the risks, the hardships and insecurities of your existence are the result of various injustices done to you, and that he alone can correct those injustices.

If a business executive earns exponentially more money than you do, this is an injustice and he will correct it. If you bought a house and are now having difficulty making the payments, this is an injustice and he will correct it. If you do not have "free healthcare," this is an injustice and he will correct it. The fact that nuclear weapons exist in the world is an injustice, and he will correct it. If you purchased toys imported from China that turned out to be defective, that is an injustice and he will correct it (yes, he actually delivered a speech entitled "Safer Toys For Our Children" in Iowa last December, two days after Christmas). And if you believe, as he apparently does, that "rich people" just simply "have too much already," well that is most certainly an injustice and he will correct it.

Combine these dynamics of entitlement and "justice" with the reality that we live in an era of historical and constitutional illiteracy, and it's not difficult to imagine how anything short of an Obama presidency could be viewed by some in America as yet another injustice. And if Obama's inevitable destiny is disrupted by something so trivial as the American electorate, this could be deemed an injustice that trumps all others.

Posted by: burn baby burn | July 21, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

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