The National Republican Senatorial Committee has reserved $5.5 million worth of airtime in Virginia this fall, another clear sign that the GOP campaign arm views the state as a key battleground.
The buy, which was first reported by Roll Call and confirmed by an NRSC aide, is part of a $25 million investment in six different races. But the Virginia contest — which will likely pit former governors George Allen (R) and Timothy M. Kaine (D) against each other in November — drew the largest amount of money from the NRSC, both because the race will be competitive and because the state is an expensive place to advertise.
Simply reserving the airtime now does not necessarily mean that the NRSC will run $5.5 million worth of ads in the state. The committee could decide to shift some of that money elsewhere, or it could decide to pour even more into the Allen-Kaine contest. Buying the airtime early allows the NRSC to get its desired times at lower rates.
The NRSC’s reservation is the latest indicator that Virginia’s race w ill be one of the nation’s costliest races. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is also likely to put money into the state, and so-called “super PACs” have already emerged to benefit each candidate.