The other shoe has dropped. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has cancelled all plans to advertise on television in the Philadelphia media market, meaning that no congressional challenger will have national air support for the duration of the campaign.
The committee had reserved $1.4 million in the expensive Philly market, earmarked for Kathy Boockvar, the woman challenging Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) and a candidate in New Jersey.
Three media buying sources – two Republican and one Democratic – confirmed the move to PoliticsPA. It follows a similar cancellation last week, when the DCCC withdrew its ads from the second-to-last week of the election (the week starting Oct. 23). In this recent move, the DCCC cancelled the final week of TV ads (from Oct. 30 to Nov. 6).
The decision is based on a multitude of factors, including the likeliness of Boockvar to pull of the win versus the cost of sustaining a television presence on her behalf. Philly is the fourth-most expensive media market in the nation, and the committee decided its resources were most effectively spent elsewhere.
It would be virtually unprecedented for a national committee to withdraw advertising plans if a challenger was running ahead or close to an incumbent in the polls.
Jesse Ferguson, a spokesman for the DCCC, said the decision was based on President Obama’s strength in the region as well as a corresponding cancellation by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“After Washington Republicans cut their ad buys for Philadelphia, our strong Democratic challengers can win with President Obama’s strength at the top of the ticket and by holding their opponents accountable for their Tea Party record,” Ferguson said.
However, last week the NRCC withdrew its ads only after the DCCC did so first. An NRCC spokesman could not confirm whether the GOP committee would do the same for the final week, but it is likely based on their prior ad traffic decisions.