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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Outside Money and House Races

Roll Call reports:
While Crossroads has reserved millions across the country in television time for presidential and Senate races, House operatives do not see any ad time from the group in their targeted races.

A spokesman said the groups have together spent $1.5 million on House races since Jan. 1, 2012, and there is big spending yet to come. “Crossroads is looking to spend tens of millions through a variety of platforms — TV ads, phone calls, direct mail, research, polling — to protect the majority in the U.S. House and promote a conservative agenda,” spokesman Nate Hodson said in a statement. He noted that Rove isn’t a spokesman for the group.
“One of the big stories of this election in the House is that the Democratic outside groups have been more aggressive and spent more money on control of the House than business and Republican groups have,” top Republican strategist Brad Todd said.
Part of the trouble for Republicans and their allies is that outside dollars become less effective as each day passes. The competition in the top broadcast markets drives up the price to air advertisements — especially compared with TV time reserved early:
• In Sacramento, Calif., home to four competitive House races, outside groups pay about $1,100 per gross rating point — about $1 million to air a week of ads at saturation levels. In April, the cost was about $510 per point.
• In Las Vegas, outside groups pay about $600 per point. That’s twice the cost per point in April.
• On Boston’s Interconnect cable market, outside groups pay $1,800 per point to advertise in any of three nearby House races. Earlier this year, the cost was $700 per point.
• In smaller markets, such as Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Wausau, Wis., outside groups pay $125 to $165 per point. That’s three times the rate candidates receive.
But Politico reports that the cavalry is on the way:
Republicans are poised to flex their financial muscle in the final month leading up to the election, dumping an avalanche of cash into congressional races in an attempt to protect the House GOP majority.
POLITICO has learned that two leading Republican groups, American Action Network and the Congressional Leadership Fund, are teaming up to spend nearly $13.5 million in House battles across the country.
The investment has the potential to drastically alter a financial playing field that has been mostly even between the two parties. Between the beginning of July and the end of September, Republican groups held a $36 million to $31 million spending advantage over their Democratic counterparts — a narrow GOP edge that left some Republican officials, who expected to have the upper hand in the money game, surprised and anxious.