DCCC books another $19M in ad airtime

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is booking another $19 million in airtime in 24 districts across the country, bringing to more than $46 million the amount the committee has reserved after Labor Day.

The reservation — which can be canceled or adjusted closer to the election — gives House Democrats assured access to broadcast slots at cheaper rates, guarding against the prospect that the DCCC and its GOP counterpart could be eclipsed in the fall by super-PACs and the pricey presidential race.

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In April, the DCCC reserved $32 million in dozens of districts, the earliest such buy in the committee's history. A DCCC official said both the April and June buys are concentrated on states where presidential and Senate races will be playing out.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to make an early buy reservation this cycle, although an official said the committee will make one. In the Senate, both the Democratic and Republican campaign arms have reserved time for the fall.

The breakdown of the DCCC's $19 million spree also offers early clues about where the committee sees its greatest opportunities for pickups — and where Democrats are likely to sink most of their resources. Many of the buys are in media markets covering multiple congressional districts, giving the DCCC the flexibility to hold off on choosing which seats it will target with ads.

The committee's biggest buy is in California, where it will book almost $5 million in the Sacramento market. Reps. Dan Lungren (R) and Jeff Denham (R) could be targeted there, or the committee could use the ads to shore up the campaigns of Democratic Reps. Jeff McNerney and John Garamendi.

The DCCC will also book $3.7 million in Boston, where Democrats are fending off a strong GOP challenge to Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and where the market bleeds into neighboring New Hampshire and its two competitive districts.

The group will reserve $2.3 million in Phoenix, home to an open district and a new district that Democrats believe are both winnable for them. In Chicago, the DCCC will set aside $3.1 million that could be used to target Republican Reps. Judy Biggert, Robert Dold and Joe Walsh.

And in Seattle, House Democrats are booking almost $900,000 to shore up the seat left open by former Rep. Jay Inslee's (D-Wash.) departure to run for governor.

Smaller buys — all for less than $700,000 — are dispersed throughout Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and North Dakota, plus additional media markets in Arizona and Illinois.