IA-01, IA-02: NRCC reserves ad time

The National Republican Congressional Committee has reserved more than $1 million of television advertising time in eastern Iowa, although it’s not clear how much the committee will spend to assist GOP challengers Ben Lange in IA-01 and John Archer in IA-02.

Representative Pete Sessions of Texas chairs the NRCC, the committee focused on preserving the GOP’s U.S. House majority. He was in Davenport this week to support Archer’s campaign against three-term Democrat Dave Loebsack. Ed Tibbetts of the Quad-City Times reported that at an August 14 meeting with business people, Sessions said

he’s willing to invest $1 million into Iowa’s 2nd District congressional race “if you make it a fight.” […]

The NRCC has reserved air time for late in the campaign in the Quad-Cities, which could be used in Iowa’s 2nd District race as well as Illinois’ 17th District, which also is considered competitive. That is just a reservation, however, not a commitment to buy ad time.

Sessions didn’t define precisely what would prompt the NRCC to weigh in, but he said polling around Labor Day would have to show “this is a fight we can win.”

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported yesterday that the NRCC has reserved $719,130 of television time in IA-02 and $356,800 of television time in IA-01, where Lange is challenging three-term Democrat Bruce Braley.

Both Lange and Archer are at the top tier of the NRCC’s program for challengers, but the committee will not necessarily spend money on behalf of all “young guns,” especially if polling over the next two months shows more incumbent Republicans in trouble.

Two years ago, the 501(c)4 group American Future Fund spent more than $1 million against Braley in IA-01, beginning about three months before the election. Lange will need some outside help again to keep up with Braley’s spending. Braley launched his first television commercial of this year’s campaign a few days ago.

Loebsack’s previous challenger, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, put more than $500,000 of her own money into her 2010 campaign in IA-02. Judging from the latest set of financial disclosure reports, Archer (a senior attorney for John Deere) may need to self-fund as well to stay competitive with Loebsack’s spending.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent money defending both Braley and Loebsack during October 2010. The House Democrats’ political arm reserved tv time in Iowa’s second, third, and fourth Congressional districts months ago, although the Quad Cities ad time could be used in Illinois’ 17th district rather than in Loebsack’s race.

Any comments about the IA-01 or IA-02 races are welcome in this thread. In both districts, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, but there are more no-party voters than Democrats. I haven’t seen any public polling on either race. Last month, Archer’s campaign released partial results from an internal poll showing Loebsack slightly ahead but below 50 percent.

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