Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
Reporter Mike Salinero has covered Hillsborough County government since 2007. Email
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Dems Put Money On 5 Florida Congressional Races, But Not In Tampa Bay
Posted Jul 23, 2008 by William March
Updated Jul 23, 2008 at 04:56 PM
The national Democratic Party has said it’s targeting seven or eight congressional races in Florida, including the race for Gus Bilirakis’s District 9 seat from the Tampa Bay area and Vern’s Buchanan’s District 13 seat from Sarasota.
But the first indication of where the party plans to spend money for advertising targets only five districts in Florida, not including D9 or D13.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved advertising time worth $53 million in 51 congressional districts nationwide, according to party documents.
That includes $1.4 million in South Florida, targeting Republican incumbent brothers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, all of the Miami area; $1.5 million in Florida District 16, where the party hopes to protect freshman Tim Mahoney of Palm Beach Gardens; and $1 million in Distict 24, where they hope to unseat Republican Tom Feeney of Oviedo, who has been linked to the Jack Abramoff scandal.
The Bilirakis and Buchanan seats aren’t included, even though the Buchanan seat is listed in the party’s “Red to Blue” program to take over GOP seats, and even though party leaders have said Democrat John Dicks in District 9 is one of 20 “emerging” candidates who could seriously challenge a GOP incumbent.
Parties tend to spend their money where they believe it has the best chance of getting results.
So far, the party has only reserved the TV time—no money has changed hands—so the plans for the ad buy could change at any time. DCCC executive director Brian Wolff called the plans “the first act of a many act play.”