Nation: DCCC Is Reserving Airtime in 3 Districts

Posted June 27, 2008 at 4:56pm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved about $4 million in TV time for the fall in three competitive House districts, according to local media reports.

By reserving the time early, the committee has locked in relatively inexpensive ad rates. The DCCC is not, however, obliged to actually run the ads if the races they are targeting wind up not being competitive.

The committee has reserved $1.2 million worth of television airtime to boost the Democratic nominee in the open 5th district race in Oregon.

State Sen. Kurt Schrader (D) is facing wealthy businessman Mike Erickson (R) in the suburban Portland seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Darlene Hooley (D). The DCCC has bought television airtime in the Portland media market for a period running from late September through Election Day.

The 5th district as drawn is competitive, although a surge in Democratic voter registration there in advance of Oregon’s Democratic presidential primary has turned a district from majority Republican into majority Democratic.

Erickson, who spent heavily in his race against Hooley in 2006 but lost to her nonetheless, could benefit from the Supreme Court decision outlawing the “Millionaires’ Amendment” provision of campaign finance law. However, he has suffered from several weeks of bad press as a result of allegations that he paid for an ex-girlfriend’s abortion.

Erickson opposes abortion rights and denies the allegations.

The DCCC has also reserved $2.1 million for ads to benefit New York City Councilmember Michael McMahon (D), who is bidding to replace Rep. Vito Fossella (R) in New York’s 13th district. Democratic prospects for that seat have improved since Fossella became embroiled in a scandal and his likely replacement on the ballot, retired Wall Street executive Frank Powers (R), died suddenly on June 22.

At press time Friday, GOP leaders in the 13th district were still struggling to find a substitute candidate.

Meanwhile, the DCCC has also reserved about $700,000 in TV time to help businesswoman and former Senate aide Betsy Markey (D) oust Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) in Colorado’s 4th district.

Liberal Group Backs Five More Democrats

21st Century Democrats, a liberal group that provides grass-roots assistance and field troops to the candidates it endorses, announced five new endorsements in Congressional races late last week.

The group endorsed Rep. Tom Udall, the Democratic nominee in the open New Mexico Senate race; New Jersey state Sen. John Adler (D), who is running to replace retiring Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.); former Michigan state Sen. Gary Peters (D), who is challenging Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.); former Florida state Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, the leading Democrat bidding to take on Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.); and teacher Larry Kissell (D), who is in a rematch with Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) after losing by just 330 votes in 2006.

“Each of our endorsed candidates has a progressive vision for America and the ability to make it a reality,” said Mark Lotwis, executive director for 21st Century Democrats.