House Democratic campaign arm rolls out first round of TV ad reservations

House Democrats’ campaign arm rolled out its first round of television ad buys Friday as the party braces for a grueling attempt to retain its majority — or minimize losses — in the lower chamber.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) independent expenditure arm, in numbers shared first with The Hill, announced it has reserved $21.4 million for broadcast TV ad buys. The reservation is higher than the $18 million it rolled out in its initial reservation in 2020 and shows a party largely playing defense to shore up vulnerable incumbents.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has not yet released its initial television reservations.

“DCCC is taking early action to ensure House Democrats have the most effective tools available to reach our voters,” said DCCC Executive Director Tim Persico. “We’re going to be sure that the American people know that House Democrats’ Majority is the only thing that will stop extremist MAGA Republicans’ mission to criminalize abortion and gain power for themselves.”

Among the biggest reservations the DCCC is placing are $7.7 million in the Las Vegas media market, including $1.3 million in Spanish language ads; $2.6 million in the Phoenix media market; $2 million in the Minneapolis media market; $1.6 million in the Philadelphia media market; and $1.4 million in the Pittsburgh media market.

The DCCC is spending smaller sums in Boston; Portland, Maine; Columbus, Ga.; Albany, Ga.; and elsewhere.

The Nevada buys could be used to boost Democratic Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, all of whom are facing tough reelection battles in a year that is anticipated to favor Republicans.

Titus, in Nevada’s 1st Congressional District, saw her district change drastically in redistricting, going from one President Biden won by 25 points in 2020 to one he would have taken by 9 points. Biden’s margin of victory would have expanded in both Lee’s and Horsford’s districts, but he still would have only won them by single digits under the new maps.

The Phoenix buy is also likely to be focused mostly — but not exclusively — on defense.

The money could be used to buoy Rep. Tom O’Halleran, who saw his district go from one that favored Biden by 2 points to one former President Trump would have taken by 8 points, and the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, whose district Biden won handily in 2020 but would have only taken by under 1 percentage point under new maps. The district held by Rep. Greg Stanton, which went from one Biden one by 14 points to one he would have won by 10 points during redistricting, could also see some ads.

The ad buy could go after Rep. David Schweikert (R). His seat went from favoring Trump by 4 points to one Biden would have won by 1 point.

The Minneapolis buy would likely be focused on boosting Rep. Angie Craig (D), whose reshuffled district still would have backed Biden by 7 points but could be vulnerable in a big GOP year.

Other seats the DCCC is protecting include those held by Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Jared Golden (Maine), Susan Wild (Pa.) and more.

The DCCC cautioned the initial reservation could be altered, and the $21.4 million will likely be complemented by other investments as the 2022 cycle progresses. During the 2018 midterm cycle, the DCCC initially reserved $12.6 million, only to see its ad spending swell to $73 million on television.

For their part, Republicans are bullish that they will be able to sweep many Democratic incumbents out of office given a dour political environment for Democrats fueled by Biden’s low approval ratings.

“No amount of advertising will help Democrats cover up their terrible record of rising prices, rising crime, and a border crisis that gets worse by the day,” said NRCC spokesman Mike Berg.

Tags ad buys ad reservations Ann Kirkpatrick Biden DCCC Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Dina Titus Tim Persico Tom O'Halleran
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