Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Targets Colorado for Ad Blitz

April 20, 2012
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The DCCC has reportedly reserved more than $32 million in TV ads 14 states, including Colorado

WASHINGTON – The House Democrat campaign apparatus plans to buy $2.5 million of television advertising on Denver stations after Labor Day to help three local House Democratic candidates, a list that might include Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Lakewood.

As Politico reported Tuesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved more than $32 million in TV advertising that would run in dozens of districts in 14 states. It has identified Colorado as one of the nation’s most competitive battleground states. Jennifer Crider, the DCCC’s deputy executive director, revealed in an interview that her organization might spend the money on TV ads to defeat two Colorado House Republicans – Scott Tipton of Cortez and Mike Coffman of Lone Tree — and defend Perlmutter.

The Democrats’ early reservation of TV advertising this fall is widely viewed as a potential asset for the party’s more vulnerable congressional candidates. “It’s not a small amount of money and something like money for ads makes a difference,” said Seth Masket, an associate professor of political science at the University of Denver. “It’s also a signal to other friendly donors, such as 527’s and super PAC’s, that these races are considered winnable.”

With the jobless rate down and Republicans defending more vulnerable seats than Democrats, some political observers predict that Democrats will pick up seats in the fall election. The Rothenberg Political Report concludes that 45 Republican-held House seats are in play, while 26 Democratic-held seats are.

Yet political observers say that Democrats might not spend all of the $32 million reserved for TV ads. Stu Rothenberg, an expert on congressional and presidential races, said in an interview that political parties’ spending on TV advertising is unpredictable. “They do it all the time: They get money; they sit on it; and they use it elsewhere. These announcements are very early, very premature, very tentative.”

House Republicans have not countered with a potential TV ad buy of their own, said Daniel Scarpinato, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Scarpinato released a statement that blasted the DCCC’s reservation of TV advertising as a doomed effort for Democratic candidates: “It’s not surprising that Nancy Pelosi and national Democrats would find it necessary to prop up their candidates’ floundering campaigns. But they’ll soon find that not even the Geico Gecko could sell the Democrats agenda of more government, higher taxes and wasteful spending to Colorado voters.”

Perlmutter’s inclusion on the list of possibly vulnerable House Democrats surprised some political observers. The Rothenberg Political Report does not list him as one of the 71 lawmakers vulnerable to defeat. Masket said he expects Perlmutter to win his race in November. “I doubt he’s in much trouble. He survived 2010, a big year for Republicans,” Masket said.

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