Sacramento is the early battleground; Democrats have reserved $7.7 million in ad time, while the NRCC wants $3 million in airtime set aside. That market covers Reps. John Garamendi, Dan Lungren, Jerry McNerney and Jeff Denham -- two Democrats and two Republicans, all of whom will face difficult re-election bids this year.
Democrats have invested in at least 26 media markets where Republicans have yet to make a buy, according to data provided by the two party committees and the outside groups. Those markets include Seattle, Phoenix, Bismarck and Fargo, Chicago and Norfolk, Va., along with six different markets in Florida.
Republicans are making reservations in at least seven markets where Democrats are absent so far, including San Diego, Salt Lake City, Lexington, and smaller markets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
The two sides have each reserved ad time in 17 media markets; in every case, Democrats have spent more money. Both sides focused early on presidential battleground states, where down-ballot candidates run the risk of being drowned out by wealthier outside groups and the White House campaigns themselves. Each side has bought early in Denver, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Boston, Des Moines and several areas in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.