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 ComstockGun debate raises stakes in battle for Virginia legislature Progressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers MORE (R-Va.), who represents a district Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy 'Too Far Left' hashtag trends on Twitter 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 HurdImpeachment hearings likely to get worse for Republicans The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings Here are the key players to watch at impeachment hearing MORE’s (R) district. And the party blocked off $1.8 million in Denver, where Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform 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 PaulsenTwo swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports Hopes dim for passage of Trump trade deal Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch MORE (R) and Jason LewisJason Mark LewisTwo swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch 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 WalzThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout Minnesota Democrat sets up rematch in competitive House race Overnight Health Care: CDC warns against using e-cigs after vaping-related deaths | Minnesota reports fourth nationwide death tied to vaping | Top Dem demands FDA chief take action | Marianne Williamson under fire over controversial health remarks MORE (D), who is running for governor; Rick NolanRichard (Rick) Michael NolanHold off on anti-mining hysteria until the facts are in Minnesota New Members 2019 Republicans pick up seat in Minnesota’s ‘Iron range’ MORE (D), who is retiring; and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonHow centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment GOP lawmaker says House impeachment rules vote 'doesn't change anything for me' Majority of Americans see impeachment inquiry as fair: poll 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 CurbeloRepublicans can't exploit the left's climate extremism without a better idea Progressive Latino group launches first incumbent protection campaign The Memo: Bad polls for Trump shake GOP MORE (R) and an open seat left vacant by Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenEx-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Former GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company Republican Salazar seeks rematch with Shalala in key Miami House district 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 StefanikImpeachment hearings likely to get worse for Republicans Trump labels Stefanik a 'new Republican Star' Five takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony MORE (R).
 
The NRCC also reserved $5.7 million in advertising in Detroit, which covers seats held by Reps. Dave TrottDavid Alan TrottPro-Trump Republican immigrant to challenge Dem lawmaker who flipped Michigan seat Meet the lawmakers putting politics aside to save our climate Michigan New Members 2019 MORE (R), who is retiring, and Mike Bishop (R) and Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergPro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won't release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo MORE (R), who are seeking reelection.
 
The party committed $1.9 million to advertising in Tucson, Ariz., where Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths 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 DenhamEx-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Former GOP Rep. Walters joins energy company TikTok faces lawmaker anger over China ties MORE (R) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoCalifornia Republican ousted in 2018 announces rematch for House seat The 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 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.