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 ComstockProgressives face steep odds in ousting incumbent Democrats K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers GOP lawmaker introduces bill to stop revolving door MORE (R-Va.), who represents a district Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTop Sanders adviser: Warren isn't competing for 'same pool of voters' Anti-Trump vets join Steyer group in pressing Democrats to impeach Trump Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey 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 HurdDemocrats keen to take on Cornyn despite formidable challenges Republicans offer support for Steve King challenger House Democrats target 2020 GOP incumbents in new ad 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 PaulsenHopes dim for passage of Trump trade deal Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Blue states angry over SALT cap should give fiscal sobriety a try MORE (R) and Jason LewisJason Mark LewisRepublicans must push through genuine health care reform Investigation concludes marijuana, medication impaired driver involved in GOP train crash The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority 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 WalzGun debate back in focus for states after mass shootings Minnesota program will pay homeowners to transform lawns into bee gardens as species inches closer to extinction Minnesota governor signs law making marital rape illegal 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 PetersonThe 9 House Republicans who support background checks Congress must work together and solve humanitarian crisis at the border GOP scores procedural win by securing more funding to enforce Iran sanctions 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 CurbeloOvernight Energy: Warren edges past Sanders in poll of climate-focused voters | Carbon tax shows new signs of life | Greens fuming at Trump plans for development at Bears Ears monument Carbon tax shows new signs of life in Congress Democratic lawmaker pushes back on Castro's call to repeal law making illegal border crossings a crime MORE (R) and an open seat left vacant by Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenRepublican Salazar seeks rematch with Shalala in key Miami House district Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm 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 StefanikRepublican lawmakers ask Trump not to delay Pentagon cloud-computing contract Rising number of GOP lawmakers criticize Trump remarks about minority Dems Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker 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 McSallyFighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate Air Force probe finds no corroboration of sexual assault allegations against Trump pick Ex-FBI official names right-wing extremism one of the biggest security challenges for 2020 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-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm Ex-GOP Rep. Denham heads to lobbying firm Crazy California an outlier? No, we are the canary in the coal mine 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.