Democrats Lead House Ad Spending
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and its allies have made their plans known early this year, plopping down millions of dollars in advertising reservations in markets across the country months before those advertisements will air.
The DCCC has reserved a total of $46 million across dozens of media markets around the country for ads that would run during the critical October home stretch. This week, House Majority PAC, a super PAC run by a former top DCCC official, and the Service Employees International Union added another $20 million in ad reservations to that total.
Reserving time means the parties are able to lock in costs at defined rates now, rates that will be less expensive than if the parties were to buy time at the last minute.
The reservations don't quite tell us exactly which race the parties are targeting. Democrats and Republicans each have major ad buys in the Philadelphia media market, for example; that market covers all or parts of four Pennsylvania districts and one New Jersey seat. While the reservations may appear to tip each side's hands, they still maintain flexibility. Either side can cancel a buy at the last minute, or give up their reservation without penalty.
Both sides have invested millions in the Sacramento, Las Vegas, Denver, Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets, all of which cover more than one swing state. The buyers will ship ads targeting specific districts at the last possible moment, to preserve their options if a given race starts looking more promising or farther out of reach.