The committee reserved $3 million in Minneapolis, where Democrats could shore up Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.) or attack Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), Sean DuffySean DuffyDuffy not running for Senate in 2018 GOP rep, CNN anchor clash over terror attacks Major progressive group unveils first 2018 Senate endorsements MORE (R-Wis.) or Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.).
Democrats also could use the airtime to defend their own vulnerable incumbents, including North Carolina Reps. Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell.
"House Democrats are beginning the 2012 election season on defense," said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Paul Lindsay. "Why? Because many of their members are in strong Republican seats where they will be forced to defend their party’s singular focus on ObamaCare while America’s economy has gone from bad to worse."
In previous cycles, the DCCC's earliest buys were in May or June, according to the group.
By purchasing the airtime in "combo" blocks market by market — rather than race by race — the DCCC can leave Republicans guessing about who they will target and how much they will spend on each ad up until the ads are ready to air, an official said.
The DCCC's independent expenditure arm cannot coordinate directly with Democratic candidates.
- This post was updated at 3:27 p.m.