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Democrats plan ad blitz for Connolly, Perriello, Nye

Ben Pershing

National Democrats are prepared to spend as much as $1.7 million to help three vulnerable House Democrats in Virginia hold on to their seats, a fresh indication that the state has become one of the most competitive congressional battlegrounds in the country.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved about $28 million in ad time in more than three dozen districts across the country. According to a DCCC source, who was granted anonymity to discuss party strategy, that total includes $1.1 million to aid Rep. Gerald Connolly in the 11th district, $312,000 to help Rep. Tom Perriello in the 5th district and $305,000 to assist Rep. Glenn Nye in the 2nd district. All three Virginians were elected in 2008 and are on Republican target lists this November.

It is typical for campaigns and party committees to reserve time relatively early in the season to ensure that they are able to run ads if they want to, but the fact that the DCCC reserved $1.7 million in time does not necessarily mean it will use all of it. The committee could run fewer ads if one or more of the races becomes less competitive, or it could buy more later when it makes its next round of purchases.

The DCCC source said the committee bought roughly the same number of "gross ratings points" -- measures of the audience size that will be reached by a given ad campaign -- in each of the three Virginia districts, but the Washington-area 11th is a far more expensive market than Roanoke, Norfolk and others in the state. The committee did not buy time in the 9th district, where Republicans are hoping to unseat veteran Rep. Rick Boucher (D).

Democrats suggest that their roughly equal buy in the 5th and 2nd districts should dispel any notion that they are playing ideological favorites or rewarding party loyalty. Perriello voted for President Obama's health reform and climate change bills, while Nye voted against both.

By Ben Pershing  |  July 23, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Ben Pershing , Election 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly , Glenn Nye , Tom Perriello  
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