House Republicans reserve millions in early air time

House Republicans reserve millions in early air time
© Greg Nash
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has reserved nearly $50 million in television advertising set to run in the weeks leading up to November’s midterm elections, an early hint at the party’s plan to maintain their House majority.
 
The reservations are preliminary, and in most cases television stations do not require a political party to actually send a check until the ads are set to run. But the NRCC’s reservations allow them to lock in a lower rate than late-comers would otherwise be afforded.
 
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The NRCC is placing much of its early bet on Pennsylvania, where new court-drawn district lines have scrambled the playing field and put several incumbent Republicans at risk. The party reserved $7.8 million in the Philadelphia media market and $3.8 million in Pittsburgh, an NRCC spokesman told The Hill.
 
Reserving advertising time does not require a party to ship an actual television spot, either. That means the more than $11 million in Pennsylvania spending could be used to defend or attack candidates in any of a dozen districts covered by the Philadelphia or Pittsburgh markets.
 
Republicans tipped their hand a little more in the Washington media market, where the NRCC has reserved $6.4 million in airtime. That money would almost certainly be spent to defend Rep. Barbara ComstockBarbara Jean ComstockGOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door Ex-lawmakers face new scrutiny over lobbying Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Va.), who represents a district Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Ex-Clinton aide: Dems should make 2020 'about integrity' Trump mounts Rust Belt defense MORE won by a 10-point margin in 2016. 
 
The early buys also hint at top Republican priorities in Texas and Colorado. The NRCC reserved $1.8 million in the San Antonio media market, which covers much of vulnerable Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdProperty is a fundamental right that is now being threatened The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE’s (R) district. And the party blocked off $1.8 million in Denver, where Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanDenver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator MORE (R) is defending a suburban swing district.
 
Other reservations can be used to defend any of a handful of members who might become vulnerable in the months leading up to the midterms.
 
The GOP has also reserved $6.4 million in the Minneapolis media market. Reps. Erik PaulsenErik Philip PaulsenPush for ‘Medicare for all’ worries centrist Dems Lawmakers beat lobbyists at charity hockey game The 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall MORE (R) and Jason LewisJason Mark LewisInvestigation concludes marijuana, medication impaired driver involved in GOP train crash The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MLB donated to GOP lawmaker who made controversial comments about women, minorities MORE (R) hold seats targeted by Democrats this year. Republicans have also said they will target Democratic-held seats owned by Reps. Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota governor announces goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 Minnesota governor rips lawmaker for saying gun control backers should be ‘run over' This is what leadership looks like MORE (D), who is running for governor; Rick NolanRichard (Rick) Michael NolanMinnesota New Members 2019 Republicans pick up seat in Minnesota’s ‘Iron range’ How America’s urban-rural divide is changing the Democratic Party MORE (D), who is retiring; and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Democrats, Trump battle over 75 'pivot' counties in Midwest Dems struggle to unify after GOP embarrasses them on procedure MORE (D), a rare incumbent in a district that backed Trump by a wide margin in 2016.
 
Republicans have blocked out $3.2 million in the Miami media market, where the party is defending Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R) and an open seat left vacant by Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenThe women in white and the trails they blaze Lobbying World Former GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop MORE (R). The party reserved $3.6 million in Las Vegas, where two Democratic open seats are up for grabs. And it ordered $1.2 million in the Albany media market, which covers parts of districts held by Reps. Claudia Tenney (R) and Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration 13 House Republicans who bucked Trump on emergency declaration House votes to overturn Trump's emergency declaration MORE (R).
 
 
The party committed $1.9 million to advertising in Tucson, Ariz., where Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyArpaio's wife recovering after rattlesnake bite in Arizona Former astronaut running for Senate in Arizona returns money from paid speech in UAE The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game MORE (R) is leaving her swing district to run for a U.S. Senate seat. And the NRCC blocked out $1.5 million in Sacramento and $1.2 million in the San Joaquin Valley — likely the Fresno market — to defend a handful of seats that are top Democratic priorities in November, including those held by Reps. Jeff DenhamJeffrey (Jeff) John DenhamCrazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine Polling editor says news outlets should be more cautious calling elections Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (R) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoThe 8 House Republicans who voted against Trump’s border wall The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — The political currents that will drive the shutdown showdown Rep. Valadao officially concedes in California race MORE (R).
 
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has yet to make its initial advertising reservations for the fall. Both the House Majority Project, the Democratic-aligned super PAC, and its Republican counterpart, the Congressional Leadership Fund, reserved millions in airtime last month for advertising that will run later this year.
 
Lisa Hagen and Ben Kamisar contributed.