Democrats’ Cash Boosting Stations

Jul 20, 2008  •  Post A Comment

It’s not just going to be ad spending on the presidential race that swells TV station coffers this summer and fall. Revenue from the congressional races also is starting to tally up at the cash register.
Democrats’ success at raising money this year has resulted in some early TV purchases, with the most significant being a $35 million “hold” by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for time in September and early October in 31 congressional districts in 22 states.
The biggest beneficiaries include TV stations in Florida, Arizona, Indiana and Ohio and cable operators in New Jersey. Some of the time being bought is on TV stations serving the 22 states, but located outside them, among them TV stations in Washington, D.C.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has made more than $15 million in buys in New Mexico, Minnesota, North Carolina and Maine, with the expenditures in the latter two exceeding $5 million each. A committee official declined comment.
More buys likely are coming. Democrats say 75 to 80 House races are competitive this time, compared with 47 two years ago. On the Senate side, the GOP has 23 senators up for election this time versus 12 two years ago. Ten races are considered competitive by both sides.
The buying started unusually early, say political professionals, potentially sending a political message about the Democrats’ fundraising strength, but also ensuring the ads get the cheapest rates.
Democrats say they are looking forward to more competitive races this fall.
“Chairman [Rep. Chris] Van Hoellen [D-Md.] has said from the start we would aggressively be on the offense and work to expand the playing field,” said Doug Thornell, a DCCC spokesman. He said the aggressiveness reflects work done to recruit good candidates, and “a slew of Republican retirements provided us with more opportunities than we can currently afford.”
The DCCC’s House Insider newsletter in July said the committee’s initial goal, of targeting 35 GOP seats while trying to protect 40 Democratic seats, has grown more expansive.
“House Democrats will continue turning up the heat on Republicans and will stay on the offense all the way up to Election Day,” the newsletter said.
The Democratic committee had a cash advantage of more than $40 million over its GOP counterpart at the end of May. The National Republican Congressional Committee has yet to buy time, though it too is planning to reserve time early for this fall, GOP officials suggest.
Democrats also have a cash advantage on the Senate side.
As of the end of May, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had raised $70 million, compared with $44.2 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Democrats launched ads in Mississippi last week and were on the air earlier this year in Oregon. Besides North Carolina, Maine, Minnesota and New Mexico, other likely battleground states include Colorado, Alaska, Kentucky and possibly Kansas or Texas.
Two years ago Republicans spent about $21.6 million on political advertising, compared to $38.5 million by the Democrats.
TV stations said they were pleased with the buys, but some had been expected.
“We absolutely anticipated it. It just may have been booked a few weeks earlier than usual,” said Jeff McCallister, director of sales for LIN TV-owned KRQE-TV, the CBS affiliate, and KASA-TV, the Fox affiliate, in Albuquerque. N.M.
Barbara Burzillo, general sales manager for Hearst-Argyle’s KOAT-TV, the ABC affiliate in the same market, said she’s been predicting that this year’s political race will result in record political advertising for the market, exceeding the $20 million spent in 2004.
“We knew this year was going to be bigger than any other,” she said, citing the presidential race, a U.S. Senate race and several congressional contests that are in play. She added if there is any surprise, it’s that while time has been booked in the congressional races, the ads won’t start airing until September. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama both are currently running ads.
The good news is that more money may be coming.
“At the end of the day, the current spending is a floor, not a ceiling,” predicted Evan Tracey, who tracks campaign ad spending for TNS Media Intelligence’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “This does two things. It flexes muscle—it’s got to demoralize Republicans and excite Democrats—and it locks in price.
Mr. Tracey predicts that political advertising this cycle will top $3 billion for everything, with the advertising for the presidential race alone now approaching $270 million. The McCain and Obama campaign each spent about $20 million since locking up their party’s nomination, with the Obama campaign spending not only on traditional battleground states but for ads in North Carolina, Georgia, Montana, Alaska, Indiana and Virginia, all of which have gone Republican in recent years.

One Comment

  1. I typically don’t reply lying on sites but you have various excellent comprehensible post.

Leave a Reply to lcd tvs sales Cancel Reply

Email (will not be published)