Why TV Airtime Reservations Are More Important Than Ever

Nathan L. Gonzales April 23, 2014 · 11:35 AM EDT

It’s time to pay more attention to television ad reservations; they have become another critical way party strategists communicate without coordinating under campaign finance laws.

Not too many cycles ago, political reporters rightly handled television ad reservations loosely and delicately as strategists from both parties used them to play games. Strategists would make some reservations with little or no intent to fulfill them in order to fake out the other party, the media or both.

But that was also a time when the party campaign committees (through their independent expenditure arms) dominated outside spending in races. Now, outside spending from non-party groups has increased, and party strategists can’t afford to pull in and out of competitive races or abruptly shift advertising plans because television spending strategies are more integrated.

“You can’t over-reserve anymore because once you’ve laid down that time, people are counting on you,” explained one Democratic strategist.

For example, last week, House Majority PAC announced initial $6.5 million in television reservations in 24 congressional districts, including 18 districts currently held by Democrats and six Republican-held districts targeted for takeover.

HMP can, and does, coordinate with other…

Colorado Senate: Mark Udall Still Favored

Stuart Rothenberg April 22, 2014 · 12:34 PM EDT

Rarely has so much been made of so little.

I ought to know, since I am in the middle of the to-do.

During the past weekend’s edition of CNN’s State of the Union, I happened to suggest that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner might upset incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the Colorado Senate…

Sebelius to the Senate? Maybe in the Land of Oz, But Not in Kansas

Stuart Rothenberg April 18, 2014 · 11:23 AM EDT

When I read the New York Times piece, “Sebelius Said to Weigh Run for Kansas Senate Seat,” I had two very different reactions.

First, I figured that national Democrats had to be encouraged that former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a once-popular two-term governor of…

How to Handicap a Campaign’s Ground Game in 2014

Stuart Rothenberg April 17, 2014 · 9:40 AM EDT

This cycle, Democrats are counting heavily on registering new voters and turning out registered voters who otherwise don’t bother to vote during midterm elections. Republicans are also putting more emphasis on voter contact programs.

In an era of micro-targeting and sophisticated…

Democratic Senate Prospects and the New Black Voter

Nathan L. Gonzales April 14, 2014 · 12:54 PM EDT

Democrats plan to turn out thousands of African-American voters this fall, in an effort to hold the Senate majority. The challenge is that some of them aren’t yet registered to vote.

Which begs the question, after opportunities to elect and re-elect the first black president, why would an…