SPOTLIGHT

Breaking Down the DCCC’s Fall TV Reservation

Rep. Steve Israel, DCCC Chairman Interview Goldmacher
National Journal
Scott Bland
May 29, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

The DCCC rolled out over $43 mil­lion in fall TV re­ser­va­tions today, set­ting the table for this year’s gen­er­al elec­tion. Here’s what we saw in­side the list:

— First things first: This round of re­ser­va­tions breaks down al­most evenly between Re­pub­lic­an- and Demo­crat­ic-held dis­tricts. The re­ser­va­tions are for mar­kets with 20 Dem seats and 19 GOP ones, a split that high­lights how dif­fi­cult the path to­ward a Demo­crat­ic House ma­jor­ity is — but also the race-by-race nature of this year’s House. The polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment fa­vors the GOP, but not to such an over­whelm­ing de­gree that loc­al cam­paign char­ac­ter­ist­ics are out­weighed.

— Also, these re­ser­va­tions aren’t a per­fect ba­ro­met­er for the land­scape’s com­pet­it­ive­ness. Rep. Chris Gib­son‘s (R) NY-19 is miss­ing, for ex­ample, though both parties think it’s a com­pet­it­ive dis­trict. A TV buy could come later, or Dems may make the cal­cu­la­tion that self-fund­ing Sean Eldridge (D) is cap­able of tak­ing care of him­self. But if oth­er touted po­ten­tial Demo­crat­ic tar­gets, like Rep. Joe Heck (NV-03), stay off the list of re­ser­va­tions in the fu­ture, that’s a bad sign for their pro­spects. Sev­er­al dis­tricts that seem on their faces like big­ger Dem reaches than sub­urb­an Ve­gas made today’s list, in­clud­ing ones in Arkan­sas and Michigan.

— Lastly, early re­ser­va­tions al­low TV buy­ers to se­cure low rates be­fore ad­vert­ising floods in and prices go up in the fall. But that doesn’t mean any­thing is guar­an­teed. An­oth­er way to save is to trim buys in ex­pens­ive mar­kets and try to get more for the money in mul­tiple, less ex­pens­ive dis­tricts. Last cycle, for ex­ample, the DCCC’s late money-mov­ing stripped ex­pens­ive Phil­adelphia out of its spend­ing plan and ad­ded places like Palm Springs, where Raul Ruiz (D-CA) ended up win­ning. As races cla­ri­fy in the fall, how much of com­mit­tee’s $2.8 mil­lion in DC for VA-10 and $2.5 mil­lion in Philly for three PA and NJ dis­tricts will stay on­line?

See the full break­down of DCCC TV re­ser­va­tions be­low. It’s not fi­nal, but it’s a new, de­tailed data set on what we can ex­pect to hap­pen in the fall.
— Scott Bland

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