- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2014

The House Democratic campaign arm is pulling nearly $3 million in planned advertising from a Republican-held but competitive Northern Virginia congressional race to spend the money in California, a source tracking ad buys confirmed Thursday, continuing a trend that has seen Democrats shift away from offense and toward defending their own seats.

With a consistent cash advantage over their Republican counterparts, Democrats had hoped to chip away at the 17 seats they would need to net to regain control of the chamber, but the Virginia move, coming just days after they announced they were scaling back advertising in about a dozen other districts, signals they are now trying to minimize losses.

The cancellation of TV advertising in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District totaled $2.8 million, according to the source. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is now directing at least $2 million to California’s 7th District, where freshman Rep. Ami Bera is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Doug Ose, a former congressman.

Withdrawing the money from Virginia leaves Democrat John Foust to essentially fend for himself against state Del. Barbara Comstock in a race to succeed Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican who is retiring at the end of this year after 17 terms in Congress. The district covers the northern tip of Virginia ranging from the inner suburbs to the West Virginia line, and Democrats hoped Mr. Wolf’s retirement would offer them one of their best chances to pick up a GOP-held seat.

The shift comes even as Mr. Foust recently reported raising more than $1 million in the third campaign quarter and had held his own in fundraising against Mrs. Comstock, who is known as a formidable fundraiser and has deep ties to major figures within the GOP.

The National Republican Congressional Committee reacted with delight to the news, saying Mr. Foust’s chances of being a member of Congress have been “greatly diminished” by the development.

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“Clearly the DCCC can see what a strong candidate Barbara Comstock is and that Foust doesn’t stand a chance against her,” NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said.

The DCCC, meanwhile, appeared to hold out hope that Mr. Foust could survive on his own.

“Ad reservations are changing every week, and John Foust is running an aggressive campaign in a tough climate that exposes Barbara Comstock’s right-wing, self-interested agenda that is totally out-of-touch with Northern Virginia’s values,” said DCCC spokesman David Bergstein.

The DCCC had announced earlier in the week that it would shift advertising buys away from races in a total of 11 mostly Republican-held congressional districts in California, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania to shore up candidates in six others, just two of which are pick-up opportunities.

The group is scaling back resources from races in California for seats held by Republican Reps. David Valadao and Jeff Denham, Rep. Steve King’s Iowa district, and Rep. Rodney Davis’ Illinois district. It also scaled back in three Republican-held districts in Michigan, two Republican-held districts in Pennsylvania, and New York’s 23rd District held by GOP Rep. Tom Reed.

They’re also pulling resources from New York’s 21st District, held by retiring Democratic Rep. Bill Owen.

In response, the committee is boosting resources for incumbent Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider and William Enyart of Illinois, Rep. Rick Nolan of Minnesota, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York.

It will also increase buys in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district on behalf of Democrat Staci Appel, who is seeking the seat of retiring GOP Rep. Tom Latham, and in Nebraska’s 2nd district, where the DCCC still hopes to defeat Republican Rep. Lee Terry.

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