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 RyanUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Soaring deficits could put Trump in a corner if there's a recession Paul Ryan moving family to Washington 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 CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform 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 ClintonTrump preps conspiracy theory to explain faltering economy The ideological divide on vaping has a clear winner: Smokers Biden struggles to hit it off with millennials 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 TrumpGraham: America must 'accept the pain that comes in standing up to China' Weld 'thrilled' more Republicans are challenging Trump New data challenges Trump's economic narrative 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 RothfusThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority Trump's most memorable insults and nicknames of 2018 Pennsylvania New Members 2019 MORE (R-Pa.) and retiring Reps. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaThe Hill's Morning Report — US strikes approved against Iran pulled back Darrell Issa eyes return to Congress Trump's 2020 campaign strategy is to be above the law MORE (R-Calif.), Charlie DentCharles (Charlie) Wieder DentThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller testimony gives Trump a boost as Dems ponder next steps The Hill's 12:30 Report: Muller testimony dominates Washington Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event MORE (R-Pa.) and Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey K Street giants scoop up coveted ex-lawmakers The 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority MORE (R-N.J.).