Republicans cutting ad spending in Wisconsin

Republicans cutting ad spending in Wisconsin
© Getty Images

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling more than $1.1 million in television advertising reservations in Wisconsin, a likely sign the party believes Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonBipartisan supply chain bill likely punted to next Congress, McCaskill says Overnight Defense: Trump at G-20 | Calls Ukraine 'sole reason' for canceling Putin meeting | Senate passes resolution condemning Russian actions | Armed Services chairmen warn against defense cuts Senate passes resolution condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine MORE (R) trails by too much of a margin to win reelection.

The NRSC has already spent a limited amount in hopes of reversing Johnson’s fortunes. But the party’s independent expenditure wing will drop its scheduled reservations beginning Oct. 17, according to a source watching the advertising market.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a statement, NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek confirmed the cancelations. She said the committee is still spending more than $100,000 in advertising they are able to coordinate with the campaign.

“We are proud to support Ron Johnson in several ways,” Bozek said in an email. “We are confident that he will have the necessary resources to highlight his manufacturing experience which is in stark contrast with Sen. Russ Feingold.”

Federal election law allows a national party committee to spend up to $430,400 in coordination with its nominee in Wisconsin.

Polls show Johnson trailing Feingold, the Democrat he beat six years ago, by significant margins. An Emerson College survey conducted in mid-September put Feingold ahead 52 percent to 42 percent, and a Marquette Law School poll from the same period showed Feingold ahead 47 percent to 41 percent.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee still has more than $2 million in reserved advertising in Wisconsin beginning October 11.

"This race remains as tight as ever, and Sen. Feingold has wasted millions of dollars on misleading ads with nothing to show for it. We’re confident in the support Ron is receiving,” said Brian Reisinger, a Johnson spokesman.

Several conservative groups spent heavily on Johnson’s behalf earlier this year, in an effort to close the polling deficit. But those groups, including the Koch brothers-aligned Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners, ended their advertising earlier this year.

A new group called the Reform Wisconsin Fund has begun a new ad blitz attacking Feingold’s votes in favor of late-term abortions. Filings with the Federal Election Commission show the group has purchased $365,000 in ads set to run in Wisconsin’s three largest media markets.