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September 10, 2008

RGA Launches NC, WA Ads

While GOP prospects in the House and Senate look grim, the party might actually net a gain in governorships. The Republican Governors Association has started spending heavily on advertisements in two key states to ensure that happens.

The committee launched advertisements attacking North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, two states in which Republicans have a chance pick up Democratic-held seats. Polls in both states show close races in which neither party has a lead outside the margin of error.

The air time the committee has reserved is not insignificant, either; a breakdown of the time reserved in North Carolina provided by one source with knowledge of the strategy shows the RGA has set aside close to $3.6 million for ads there, including $1.1 million in the final two weeks alone. The first ad casts Perdue as a part of the status quo.

Republicans will spend most heavily in the Raleigh-Durham market while avoiding the Charlotte market completely. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is the Republican nominee in the race.

The committee would not comment on the size of the ad buy in Washington except to say that it is substantial. The ad there takes on Gregoire for campaign contributions she took from Native American tribes after a deal the state and tribes reached over casinos.

Democrats have been on the air in both states as well, and for a longer period of time. But the ads don't come from the Democratic Governors Association. While the RGA runs their ads under their own name, Democrats invest in third-party local groups and ask their donors to do the same, DGA spokesman Brian Namey told The Scorecard.

In North Carolina, the DGA has invested in, and is steering donors toward, the Alliance for North Carolina, which has run two ads slamming McCrory's economic plan. In Washington, Evergreen Progress has run eight ads since late Spring casting former state Senator Dino Rossi as a Bush Republican.

Check out the ads on Politics Nation.