GOP Plans $40M Ad Push for House Races

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 16, 2006; 12:06 PM

WASHINGTON -- House Republicans have reserved more than $40 million worth of television advertising time for the fall, most of it aimed at holding seats they control, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast.

Republican incumbents in the Philadelphia area _ Reps. Jim Gerlach, Curt Weldon and Mike Fitzpatrick _ as well as Connecticut Reps. Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson are slated to get roughly $10 million combined in party advertising.

In the Ohio River Valley, Reps. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Geoff Davis of Kentucky and Mike Sodrel of Indiana also are to benefit from advertising by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

While most of the airtime reserved so far is meant to help GOP incumbents fend off Democratic challenges, House Republicans also plan to spend millions of dollars to try to unseat several Democrats, including Chet Edwards of Texas, John Spratt of South Carolina and Leonard Boswell of Iowa. The NRCC plans to spend at least $1 million in each of those races to help GOP candidates.

House Democrats, for their part, previously reserved roughly $50 million in advertising time for the fall as they seek to pick up the 15 seats they need to win control of the House after a dozen years in the minority.

Generally, the two advertising blueprints overlap.

Democrats, for instance, have reserved advertising time to run barrages of commercials in most of the same GOP-held districts in the Midwest and Northeast where Republicans plan to defend their turf.

The Republicans' plan calls for spending money on commercials in more than two dozen competitive congressional districts across the country.

Political advertising reservations are publicly available, providing a window into campaign playbooks that candidates and groups typically keep under wraps.

"We don't talk about our strategy," Carl Forti, an NRCC spokesman, said Tuesday.

Bill Burton, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman, said: "With a mess in Iraq, gas prices at new highs and public confidence in the White House and Congress at new lows, it's no surprise that Republicans are on defense at an unprecedented level around the country."

Information available to date shows that other GOP incumbents who are to benefit from the NRCC's ad campaign include Reps. Heather Wilson in New Mexico and Clay Shaw in Florida, who Democrats are targeting for defeat.

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