Democratic super PAC reserves air time in House races

August 2, 2012

A super PAC designed to help House Democrats retake the majority in November is spending nearly $2.5 million on fall television air time reservations in six media markets in California, New York and Texas.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, speaks during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, July 27, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/BloombergHouse Majority PAC, which was organized in 2011 by former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee campaign director Ali Lapp , is going on offense against Republican incumbents with its new reservations, but will try to shore up vulnerable Democrats as well. While $2.5 million isn’t a whole lot relative to the totals the super PAC and other groups have already reserved, the new reservations offer further insight into the districts where Democrats are most interested in competing.

The group’s most expensive investment is in California, where it is reserving $1.2 million in the San Diego media market. Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray is facing a challenge from San Diego Port CommissionerScott Peters there. An internal Peters poll conducted last month showed the race to be pure toss-up. Also in California, House Majority PAC is spending $285,000 in Palm Springs, where Republican Rep.Mary Bono Mack faces a challenge from Democratic physician Raul Ruiz.

In Texas, the group is reserving $415,000 worth of air time in San Antonio, where freshman Republican Rep. Quico Canseco is facing a challenge from Democratic state lawmaker Pete Gallego, who won the Democratic runoff in the 23rd District over former representative Ciro Rodriguez on Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) (Mark Wilson – Getty Images)In New York, House Majority PAC is reserving $175,000 in the Syracuse market, where vulnerable Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle faces a rematch against Democrat Dan Maffei in the state’s new 24th District. The group is also reserving $255,000 worth of time in the Rochester market, where Democratic U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter is trying to hold her seat against Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, for whom House Speaker John Boehner is raising money this weekend. Ads in the Rochester market can also reach voters in Buerkle’s race as well as Democratic Rep. Kathy Hochul’s 27th District race.

In tandem with the Service Employees International Union, House Majority PAC had previously reserved $20 million worth of fall ad time, including in the Buffalo market, which reaches voters in Hochul’s Erie County-based race. The group is adding $120,000 to its previous $205,000 reservation there.

Outside groups have been lining up to lock in lower rates for the fall as the post-Labor Day stretch run approaches. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved more than $46 million for the fall, while the National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved more than $23 million.

The powerful GOP-aligned American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have not reserved ad time for the fall in House races. The group’s main focus has been on the presidential contest and the Senate landscape. But the groups do intend to spend $300 million on congressional races and the presidential match.