Democrats reserve TV ad time in House races nationwide

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2016 6:09 PM
Democrats reserve TV ad time in House races nationwide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are grabbing election-season television time in eight markets from New Hampshire to Nevada as part of their longshot bid to take majority control of the House.

The House Majority PAC, a political committee that helps Democratic candidates, said Wednesday it is reserving $7.5 million worth of time for ads for the last weeks of the campaign.

Ad time reserved in advance is usually less expensive, sometimes dramatically so, than time purchased at the last minute.

Though the process can vary, in many instances organizations can cancel reservations without penalty. Such changes are a common occurrence as Election Day approaches and strategists abandon losing campaigns for winnable races.

The markets cover around a dozen House districts that could see competitive elections in November. They include Denver, Colorado, where GOP Rep. Mike Coffman is being challenged, and West Palm Beach, Florida, where Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy is abandoning his seat to run for the Senate.

Other markets where Democrats are reserving time are Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; Las Vegas, Nevada; Manchester, New Hampshire; New York City and Philadelphia.

Even so, Democrats need to gain 30 seats to win a House majority, a pickup still considered an uphill climb for the party.

National Republican Campaign Committee spokeswoman Katie Martin declined to comment Wednesday.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan's office is declining to comment on how the mention of his name elicited boos at a Donald Trump rally in Ryan's hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.

Ryan was not in Janesville on Tuesday when Trump appeared at a rally at a conference hall there.

The businessman asked the crowd what they thought about fellow Republican Ryan, who's in his ninth term representing the area and became House speaker last fall.

Trump sounded genuinely surprised when the crowd broke into loud boos, with some in the audience vigorously giving thumbs-down signs.

"Oh you don't like him?" Trump remarked. "Wow, I was told be nice to Paul Ryan. Because really, all right, well, he's the speaker, he's a nice guy, he called me the other day he was very nice but I'm very surprised at this statement, wow.

"Are you all Republicans, are you mostly conservatives?" he continued as the crowd responded with cheers.

The state's primary is April 5 and Trump is battling in the polls with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Ryan, who will chair the GOP convention in July, has stayed neutral in the presidential race and pledged to support the eventual GOP nominee. He has spoken out against some of Trump's more extreme positions.

Ryan's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, declined comment when asked Wednesday about the crowd's reaction in Janesville.

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AP Congressional Correspondent Erica Werner contributed to this report.