The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is delaying its initial advertising in Florida's U.S. Senate race in order to further fortify its resources closer to Election Day, a DSCC official told the Herald/Times.
The DSCC on Tuesday cancelled its ad buy planned for Sept. 20-26 -- what was to be the committee's first foray into Florida's general election between Democrat Patrick Murphy and Republican incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio.
National Republicans were heralding the news as positive for their side, saying Democrats were "bailing" on Murphy's "losing campaign."
But the DSCC official argues their change in strategy is no indication of dwindling commitment in Murphy's race.
"Florida is clearly a competitive race and one that Democrats can win given polling that was released today," the official said, referencing an internal poll that showed Murphy and Rubio virtually tied. (That poll -- conducted nearly a month ago but shared by Democrats on Tuesday -- contrasts with other recent polls that have found Rubio with a several percentage-point advantage.)
"This spending is simply being moved to come later in the election to backload our current Florida buy," the official added.
But by delaying spending until closer to Election Day, the Democrats potentially reduce the impact of their ads because many voters will have already made up their minds. Mail ballots start going out in early October and early voting begins Oct. 29.
Back in April, the DSCC -- whose goal is to elect more Democrats to the Senate -- reserved about $10 million in TV ad time for this fall to support its general election candidate, which Murphy officially became with last week's primary victory.
Democrats view Florida's as one of a handful of viable seats that could help them take back control of the chamber, but Florida's race became considerably more challenging earlier this summer when Rubio decided to seek re-election after all. Two national political analysts recently upgraded Rubio's prospects by changing their ratings for Florida's race from "toss up" to "leaning Republican."
The DSCC by early May already started reserving ad time for the final week prior to Election Day, Nov. 1-7 -- including more than $100,000 worth on one Miami TV station alone.
National Democrats won't be without resources in Florida this month, though. The Senate Majority PAC -- a Democratic super PAC -- has a large ad buy starting on Sept. 13.
Photo credit: Walter Michot / Miami Herald