House Majority PAC, a super PAC that boosts House Democrats, recently delayed a week's worth of advertising in New Jersey's 3rd District in the final stretch of the campaign.
Democrat Aimee Belgard and Republican Tom MacArthur are running to replace retiring Republican Rep. Jon Runyan in one of a few races left on the map where Democrats remain on offense. The district, which is reached via the pricey Philadelphia media market, is rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
House Majority PAC moved a massive broadcast television reservation for the week of Oct. 14, pushing it back and splitting it in half over broadcast airwaves for the two final weeks of the midterms, according to the super PAC's Executive Director Ali Lapp. She told CQ Roll Call it is undetermined if the group will follow through with its Philadelphia ad reservation through Election Day.
House Majority PAC's shift gives Belgard support at the end of the campaign, when two GOP outside groups are spending heavily in the southern New Jersey district. Crossroads GPS booked $629,000 between Oct. 21 through Oct. 27, while American Action Network is on the air for $950,000 in the final week of the contest.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been airing ads in the district since mid-August with no signs of stopping. The DCCC is scheduled to be on air for the rest of the campaign, solely on cable. The DCCC is splitting that money between New York City cable and Philadelphia cable.
The DCCC recently canceled a broadcast television reservation in the Philadelphia market, characterizing it as cutting loose two Pennsylvania districts in the region that few political observers saw as competitive.
President Barack Obama won New Jersey's 3rd District by five points in 2012, even as Runyan won a second term. That year, the DCCC yanked its reservation for the race in early October.
But Democrats found new optimism for the seat when the sophomore announced his retirement last year.
Even so, House Democrats are scrambling to raise money to combat GOP outside group spending against incumbents, and have pulled money in recent days from expensive media markets. The DCCC recently scrapped reservations in Virginia's 10th District and Colorado's 6th District — both races where the party had hoped to capture seats from Republicans.
The process of cutting television money intended for certain campaigns and directing them to other races — known in the political world as "triage " — will likely finish this week. Typically, campaigns give two weeks notice to cancel television reservations.
Still, a GOP media buyer warned, campaign committees do occasionally make last-minute changes. While not always a solid business practice with local television stations, there are few consequences to campaign committees this late in the cycle.
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