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August 08, 2008

Dems Start IE Spending

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has started flexing its financial muscle in two Republican-held seats, making the first independent expenditures to benefit their candidates.

The committee reported spending just over $13,000 on mail pieces in New Jersey's Seventh District, where State Assemblywoman Linda Stender is seen as the early favorite to take Rep. Mike Ferguson's seat back for Democrats. Stender will face Republican State Senator Leonard Lance in the Fall.

Democrats also dropped $20,000 in Illinois' Eleventh District, where State Senator Debbie Halvorson is facing Republican businessman Marty Ozinga. Halvorson was a shoo-in at one point this year when her Republican opponent dropped out of the race, but Ozinga has proven a highly capable fundraiser and his campaign has given the GOP new hopes of keeping retiring Rep. Jerry Weller's seat in the fold.

It's the committee's first investment in mail for both districts, but the DCCC has already started spending money on television ads as well. The party dropped about $40,000 on television ads in Halvorson's district on Tuesday, as well as $44,000 in Texas' Twenty-Second district, where incumbent Democrat Nick Lampson faces the fight of his life against a top Republican challenger.

The spending is just the first of what is expected to be heavy investments in all three districts. The DCCC has reserved $1.6 million in television time for Halvorson's race, $1.8 million to benefit Stender and $1.1 million for Lampson's defense.