There was bad news today for North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell (D) out of Washington, D.C.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee canceled a second week of advertising in Kissell's 8th district. Roll Call has learned that the DCCC's independent expenditure arm canceled a reservation for advertising in the Charlotte media market from Oct. 9-15. This comes after the DCCC canceled a reservation from Oct. 2-8, as first reported by Roll Call.
The DCCC, which has not yet advertised for Kissell in the district, has reservations for the remainder of the cycle in the district — a significant sum. But those buys could be canceled, too. The National Republican Congressional Committee has been on the air advertising against Kissell since Sept. 7.
The DCCC places most of its ad buys early to get lower rates on advertisements. The NRCC tends to reserve television time later in the cycle. One disadvantage of the DCCC strategy: When it cuts and tweaks reservations as resources are reallocated, it is seen as a sign the committee is dropping support for an incumbent, especially for a deeply vulnerable Member such as Kissell, who is running in a newly configured Republican-leaning district.
Of course, the NRCC has not bought TV in some vulnerable GOP Members districts, but theirs is a less public way of sending the message that a Congressman's electoral battle is probably too steep to win.
Kissell faces a tough race against former Congressional aide Richard Hudson (R).
Democrats in North Carolina have privately had significant worries about Kissell, and the DCCC pulling the reservation has only added to Tar Heel operatives' concerns.
"It's getting more and more difficult with each of these reservation pulls," one North Carolina Democratic consultant said. "And it's remarkably frustrating, to say the least. Our friends at the DCCC are doing us no favors."
Republicans delighted in the news.
“National Democrats are finally admitting what North Carolina families have known all along — Larry Kissell’s tax-and-spend record is indefensible," NRCC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a statment. "This is just the latest sign that Democrats' rhetoric about taking back the House doesn’t match the reality when they are already giving us three seats in North Carolina.”
A spokesman said the DCCC remained confident.
“Larry Kissell is battle-tested and has won tough fights by gaining the support of independents and Republicans," DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement. "Kissell is leading in his polling and can win against Washington insider Richard Hudson, who is running a lackluster campaign and supports an agenda to end Medicare.”
Roll Call rates the 8th district race as Leans Republican.