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 ComstockDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Millionaires group endorses Dem House candidates opposed to GOP tax law Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE (R-Va.), who represents a district Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report 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 HurdDem introduces bill to create federal cybersecurity apprenticeship program Koch group launches digital ads in tight Texas House race Gingrich: Bushes view themselves as closer to Obamas, Clintons than to Trump MORE’s (R) district. And the party blocked off $1.8 million in Denver, where Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanGiffords PAC features hypothetical texts during school lockdown in ad against Colorado rep Dems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls 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 PaulsenHow the Trump tax law passed: Breaking the gridlock  Election Countdown: What to watch in final primaries | Dems launch M ad buy for Senate races | Senate seats most likely to flip | Trump slump worries GOP | Koch network's new super PAC Dem leads GOP incumbent in Minnesota congressional race: poll MORE (R) and Jason LewisJason Mark LewisOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: report The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Pence barnstorm swing states Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' 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 WalzElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls White House re-lowers flag to half staff to honor McCain after backlash Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' MORE (D), who is running for governor; Rick NolanRichard (Rick) Michael NolanTrump is wrong, Dems are fighting to save Medicare and Social Security Election Countdown: GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket | Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries | Parties fight for Puerto Rican vote in Florida | GOP lawmakers plan 'Freedom Tour' GOP worries House majority endangered by top of ticket MORE (D), who is retiring; and Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonHouse and Senate farm bills set contrasting visions for SNAP program Commodity checkoff reform needed Democrats should stop agonizing over a national message for 2018 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 CurbeloDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal MORE (R) and an open seat left vacant by Rep. Ileana Ros-LehtinenIleana Carmen Ros-LehtinenCook moves status of 6 House races as general election sprint begins The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Cuomo wins and Manafort plea deal Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash 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 StefanikNumber of GOP women in House could fall to World War II levels, Republican CEO says GOP lacks good funding mechanism for women candidates, says Republican CEO Pelosi calls on Ryan to bring long-term Violence Against Women Act to floor MORE (R).
 
 
The party committed $1.9 million to advertising in Tucson, Ariz., where Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — GOP again has momentum on Kavanaugh rollercoaster Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ 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 DenhamTrump attacks Dems on farm bill House Republicans push for vote on Violence Against Women Act Steyer group launching 0,000 digital ad campaign targeting millennials MORE (R) and David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoDems make big play for House in California Immigration overhaul on life support in the House The Hill's 12:30 Report 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.