Campaign committees

Campaign committees

DCCC reserves $32 million in airtime in unprecedented early buy

House Democrats are reserving almost $32.5 million in broadcast television airtime for the fall, a show of strength that also offers a detailed look at what Democrats see as their path back to the majority.

It's the earliest the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has ever placed such a buy, which reserves the airtime while prices are less expensive and leaves the committee with the flexibility to decide later how to divide up the time.

"By placing early, the DCCC is saving a significant amount of money and ensuring the ads have good placement," a DCCC official said.

In all, the committee has purchased time in the media markets covering 26 incumbent Republicans, seven incumbent Democrats and three open seats.

In Pennsylvania, the DCCC has reserved more than $3.5 million in Philadelphia, allowing them to potentially target Republican Reps. Patrick Meehan (Pa.), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Charlie Dent (Pa.),  Michael Fitzpatrick (Pa.) and Jon Runyan, whose New Jersey district uses the Philadelphia media market. 

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House Dems' February haul tops $6.3 million

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than $6.3 million last month in what it said was its best February ever.

House Democrats ended February with $16.4 million in the bank and no debt. The DCCC spent $3 million in February and has raised more than $73 million so far this cycle.

The National Republican Congressional Committee has not released its totals, which aren't due to federal officials until Tuesday. In January, the NRCC raised $4.8 million while the DCCC raised $6 million. Republicans had $17.5 million on hand, putting them about $4.5 million ahead of Democrats as of the end of January.

Senate Democrats announced earlier Monday that they had raised $5.3 million in February, marking three straight months of raising more than the month before.

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RNC raises $11.3 million in February

The Republican National Committee raised $11.3 million in February, outperforming its January haul and adding more than $3 million to its war chest.

The RNC raised $10.4 million the month before, although the figures don't reflect what the GOP presidential candidates have raised. The RNC had $23.4 million cash on hand at the end of January, and has increased that total to $26.5 million.

{mosads}Almost $6 million of what the RNC has raised this year has come from major donors, the committee said.

The Democratic National Committee hasn't announced its February tallies, but must report those numbers by March 20.

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DCCC bulks up expenditure team

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is bulking up its independent-expenditure operations, naming two leaders and adding two teams as it steps up efforts to take back the House in November.

Travis Lowe, the DCCC’s campaign director and former regional political director, will serve as executive director for independent expenditures. Kevin McKeon, who heads research for the DCCC, will now direct research specifically for the IE team, which cannot coordinate directly with campaigns.

“They have the right combination of experience, political know-how and superior understanding of our races to aggressively run winning races,” DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) said in a statement.

House Democrats have upped their IE teams from six to eight to enable them to focus on more than 75 races they believe to be in play. Democrats need to flip 25 seats in 2012 to retake the majority in the House.

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NRSC outraised DSCC in December, but Dems had better year overall

Senate Republicans out-raised Democrats by about $1 million in December, but Democrats did better overall in 2011 and have slightly more on hand heading into election year.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $4.5 million in December to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's $3.5 million. Democrats have $12.2 million in the bank and Republicans have $11.4 million.

Both committees ended the year free of debt.

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Gov. Haley to headline NRCC dinner

Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) will keynote the National Republican Congressional Committee’s 2012 fundraising dinner, the committee announced Friday. The annual dinner will be held March 20 at the National Building Museum.

“Gov. Haley has quickly proven her ability to stand up to Washington Democrats’ job-destroying agenda and to fight for Republican solutions for prosperity,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) said in announcing the details of the dinner. “As a rising leader in the Republican Party, Gov. Haley represents a dynamic voice for effectively communicating the Republican will to win in 2012 to rebuild the American Dream.”

But Democrats quickly pointed out that the NRCC is featuring a governor beleaguered by her own problems at home. Haley had a 34 percent approval rating in South Carolina in a December poll from Winthrop University.

She was elected in 2010, and has recently become one of Mitt Romney’s most visible campaign-trail surrogates.

The NRCC said it raised $10 million in 2011 from its annual dinner, the largest fundraiser it holds each year. Republican Reps. Candice Miller (Mich.), Bill Shuster (Pa.) and John Sullivan (Okla.) will serve as co-chairmen of this year’s dinner.

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DCCC chairman decries GOP ‘hypocrisy’ on Countrywide

The top Democratic campaign official in the House is accusing his Republican counterpart of hypocrisy for attacking a Democrat over Countrywide loans, then deleting the attack from the campaign group’s website after it was revealed its own chairman was caught up in the same debacle.

“Where theres hypocrisy, were going to call them out on it,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told reporters Wednesday.

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GOP makes play for Hispanic support

Republicans are upping their efforts to reach out to the Hispanic community ahead of an election season in which Hispanics will play a larger role than ever before.

The Republican National Committee announced on Wednesday that it created a new position for a director of Hispanic outreach, and named campaign veteran Bettina Inclán to the position. Inclán previously headed the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and worked on Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) successful 2010 campaign.

"By placing staff at the local communities, we will be engaging with the community where they work and live and bringing them the Republican message of economic opportunity and family values," Inclán said in a conference call with reporters.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the party's efforts to connect with Hispanic voters would include digital outreach, get-out-the-vote campaigns and voter identification strategies, bolstered by an on-the-ground staff coordinating outreach to the nation's fastest growing voter bloc.

The expanded efforts signal a realization that Republicans have a long way to go to be competitive with Democrats in appealing to Hispanics, who now make up a substantial portion of the vote even in states far removed from the country's southwestern border with Mexico.

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