When I saw the media reports that the DCCC had cancelled its ad buys in the Ohio First Congressional District contest, I immediately requested comment from Tim Mulvey, Communication Director of the Driehaus for Congress campaign.
Mr. Mulvey replied in a short e-mail message (not a press release):
“We understand that the DCCC made this move after the NRCC did the same in this race. The DCCC continues to support our estimable field operation.
“We haven’t seen much [independent expenditures] in this race, and we’re roughly neck-and-neck with Chabot in terms of campaign expenditures.”
Driehaus’ campaign spokesman also added that the DCCC is still providing funding for the campaign’s field operations.
In other words, from the Driehaus campaign’s perspective, the DCCC is doing what it can to match the commitment the NRCC is doing in other races. Given that the NRCC took out over $6 million in loans to add to the number of races it is advertising in, it’s expected that the DCCC would follow to play defense.
If the NRCC has pulled out of the race (and I admit, I’ve seen no ad recently from them on Chabot’s behalf), then it looks like the national parties have left the two to duke it out themselves.
Remember, the last public poll on this race in August (which was done by a conservative group) showed Driehaus trailing only 47% to 45%. That’s a statistical dead heat and still a position in which an incumbent can win. (However, on Friday, the Washington Post’s “The Fix” claimed that a “slew of recent polls show… Chabot is well-positioned to win back his seat.” Though the week prior, the Post noted that this was largely due to Driehaus’s expected difficulty to turn out the African-American vote like it turned out in 2008. )
Also since then, we’ve seen some encouraging early GOTV numbers and stories for Driehaus… especially on African-American turnout. Chabot has, until very recently, ran a very complacent campaign. While I don’t deny Driehaus has problems this year, Chabot, too, is having problems getting people pumped at the prospect of his return to office given his lack of any discernable achievements in Congress that led to his ouster just two years ago in the first place.
If it’s true that the NRCC pulled out of its ad buys first, that should be reported in context of the DCCC pullout.
[UPDATE:] I did a quick Google search, and I did find several different articles that say a very recent FEC report filed by the NRCC showed no expenditures in this race.
The NRCC denied to the Cincinnati Enquirer that it “cancelled” any ad time. However, I seem to recall that they reserved a bunch of time in August for this time period, but it hadn’t been paid for yet. I’ve also noticed no NRCC ads in the race or in their YouTube channels. Maybe instead of “cancelling” the buys they just let them lapse without paying for them. Regardless, what the NRCC is now claiming doesn’t seem to match what I’ve been seeing locally on television. For some time now, the ads have largely been Chabot vs. Driehaus only.