WASHINGTON – U.S. House Democrats plan to spend as much as $2.6 million on TV ads to defend Reps. Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan this fall, according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman.
Nationally, Democrats are on the defensive this year and it’s telling that the DCCC’s ad reservations in Minnesota are intended to shore up Nolan and Peterson rather than take on 2nd District Republican John Kline, whom Democrats had suggested was vulnerable last year.
Nolan and Peterson both face potentially strong challenges from candidates backed by the DCCC’s Republican counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committee. Stewart Mills is running against Nolan. Torrey Westrom is the Republican candidate challenging Peterson.
The DCCC says it’s reserved $1.5 million in the Minneapolis-St. Paul TV and cable market for Peterson’s race in the final three weeks of the campaign and $1.1 million for Nolan between October 7th and October 20th. The vast western Minnesota 7th District that Peterson represents is only partially covered by the Twin Cities media market so it’s likely that if the long-serving Democrat does need help from the DCCC that the group will also have to buy ads in the Fargo-Moorhead market.
The ad reservations are part of a nationwide $43.5 million ad strategy covering 36 districts. Last month, a Democratic super PAC, the House Majority PAC, reserved an additional $700,000 dedicated to backing Nolan and attacking Kline.
As always, multiple caveats are in order. Ad reservations this far in advance are intended to lock in cheaper ad rates but the DCCC is not necessarily bound to spend that much. The group could also spend much more in Minnesota depending on how close the races are. Officially, the DCCC is not supposed to coordinate with outside groups such as the House Majority PAC. But by publicizing their spending plans early, the groups are able to see what their allies are up to and plan accordingly.