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NRCC Announces Ad Buys in 10 Districts

Independent expenditure groups frustrated.

5:41 PM, Sep 10, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Today, The Hotline reported that the NRCC will buy ads in 10 districts:

The NRCC is taking the fight to Democrats, launching ads in 10 new districts as early as this Sunday. The NRCC has already gone up with an ad targeting Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN 02), and Roll Call reported late Thursday that ads are also set to target the following Dem Reps.: Bobby Bright in AL 02, Ann Kirkpatrick in AZ 01, Jerry McNerney in CA 11, Allen Boyd in FL 02, Ben Chadler in KY 06, Travis Childers in MS 01, state Sen. Roy Herron in TN 08 (open), Chet Edwards in TX 17, Tom Perriello in VA 05 and state Sen. Julie Lassa in WI 07 (open).

Good news for Republicans, right? Not entirely. A GOP source tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that independent expenditure groups have already made ad buys during the same time period as the NRCC in eight of these ten districts. "So rather than saving money, [the NRCC is] spending money where other groups already are spending dough!" emails the source. "Outside groups and the NRCC will both be running ads for two weeks on top of each other.  On the other hand, the NRCC has yet to lay down the rest of the $22 million (or $24 million in some reports) they said several weeks ago they were buying."

The issue boils down to this: independent expenditure groups are barred by law from coordinating with candidates or candidate committees, so, typically, IE groups wait until  the committees announce their plans (including their schedules) for running ads in key House races. Then, the groups will know when to run ads in those races that don't overlap with the committee-funded ads. But according to the GOP source quoted above, the NRCC has been slow to announce its schedule. Now, the IE groups are going ahead next week and spending $7 million to lock in time for TV spots in House districts.  They can't wait any more, and there might be more doubling up of ad buys. In other words, this is not necessarily the best use of resources.

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