House GOP group cuts financial support for Coffman, Bishop

House GOP group cuts financial support for Coffman, Bishop
© Greg Nash
The largest Republican super PAC defending the party's majority in the House has canceled advertising buys in two suburban districts, a signal that senior Republicans do not believe the longtime incumbents can win this November.
 
The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), a group closely aligned with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThe Hill's 12:30 Report – Cohen says Trump knew payments were wrong | GOP in turmoil over Trump shutdown threat | Kyl to resign from Senate at year's end Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming Senate heads toward floor fight on criminal justice bill MORE (R-Wis.), canceled a collective $3.1 million in advertising time it had reserved in suburban Denver and suburban Detroit, according to a source familiar with the group's advertising plans.
 
The ad time was meant to defend Reps. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanGardner gets first Dem challenger for 2020 Senate race The 5 most competitive Senate races of 2020 10 things we learned from the midterms MORE (R-Colo.) and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.). Internal and public polls show both longtime Republicans trailing in their reelection bids weeks out from the midterms.
 
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Coffman has long been a target of Colorado Democrats, who have sent some of their best-known and best-funded state legislative leaders to stand and fall against him. Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLanny Davis says Nixon had more respect for the Constitution than Trump Clinton commemorates Sandy Hook anniversary: 'No child should have to fear violence' Sanders, Warren meet ahead of potential 2020 bids MORE won Coffman's district by a 9-point margin in 2016.
 
This year, he faces a first-time candidate, attorney Jason Crow. A Siena College poll conducted for The New York Times showed Crow leading 51 percent to 40 percent.
 
The CLF, which has spent more on behalf of Republican candidates than any other group or party organization, had already spent $1.5 million to boost Coffman, a four-term congressman.
 
Bishop is a newer target for Democrats. He represents parts of Oakland County, Mich., the traditional home of the Reagan Republican, in a district that voted for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAustralia recognizes West Jerusalem as Israeli capital, won't move embassy Mulvaney will stay on as White House budget chief Trump touts ruling against ObamaCare: ‘Mitch and Nancy’ should pass new health-care law MORE by a 7-point margin. He faces Elissa Slotkin, a former assistant secretary of Defense in the Obama administration.
 
The CLF had planned to spend heavily on Bishop's behalf beginning in mid-October.
 
Party committees and outside groups make advertising reservations early in each election cycle, in order to lock in low rates. Those groups do not have to actually pay for the reservations until just days before the ads air, giving groups leeway to cut ad buys in case their candidate falls flat late in the campaign, or pulls away on their own.
 
The parties avoid cutting reservations as often as possible. Doing so often signals a death knell for a candidate just weeks before Election Day.
 
This year, Republicans facing a difficult political landscape have already cut ad buys in nearly a dozen districts, including seats held by Reps. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) and Keith RothfusKeith James RothfusPennsylvania New Members 2019 Pennsylvania Dem: Trump has proven he's 'interested in negotiating' Trump rips pundits for not giving him ‘proper credit’ for ‘great’ midterm MORE (R-Pa.) and retiring Reps. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaGeorge H.W. Bush remembered at Kennedy Center Honors Ryan casts doubt on 'bizarre' California election results Democratic gains erasing House GOP in California MORE (R-Calif.), Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentPennsylvania New Members 2019 Dem wins leave behind a more conservative GOP conference How Republicans who voted against ObamaCare repeal fared in midterms MORE (R-Pa.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — George H.W. Bush lies in state | NRCC suffers major hack | Crunch-time for Congress The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Washington poised to avert shutdown crisis, for now New Jersey New Members 2019 MORE (R-N.J.).