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 RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration 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 CoffmanTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 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 ClintonFemale Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up McCabe's shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on 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 TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview 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 RothfusTrump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Pennsylvania New Members 2019 Pennsylvania Dem: Trump has proven he's 'interested in negotiating' MORE (R-Pa.) and retiring Reps. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress Former congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Senate throws hundreds of Trump nominees into limbo MORE (R-Calif.), Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentThe Hill's Morning Report - Government is funded, but for how long? Ex-GOP lawmaker says his party is having a 'Monty Python' moment on shutdown Former GOP lawmaker: Republicans know shutdown is ‘a fight they cannot win’ MORE (R-Pa.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoLoBiondo launches consulting firm Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge The 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 MORE (R-N.J.).