WASHINGTON - The National Republican Congressional Committee has canceled about $2 million worth of advertising it had reserved for campaigning in the Houston television market, according to several Democratic and Republican sources tracking Houston media advertising who were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.
The Houston region is home to several contested congressional elections, including the 7th Congressional District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, a Democrat. Fletcher unseated Republican John Culberson in 2018, and she is one of two Democratic incumbents who Republicans have been targeting in Texas this year.
The $2 million was intended to cover advertising in the last two weeks of the election, according to the sources.
One source, a national Republican operative, said the money has been moved to the San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth media markets. The San Antonio market includes parts of Congressional District 23, where Republicans are trying to hold on to a seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes. The Dallas-Fort Worth market includes multiple districts that Democrats are trying to flip, and one district held by U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, that Republicans are targeting.
The NRCC is the House GOP campaign arm. All Republican members of the House are members of the group, and most members raise money to support the ad campaigns for competitive races around the country.
Historically, the constellation of House Republican groups — the NRCC and their aligned super PACs — tend to move ad buys back and forth between media markets later into the campaign as compared to their Democratic counterparts. At the same time, these kinds of moves cost money. Television rates tend to escalate as the campaign closes in on Election Day.
This year, Texas is home to an unusually large number of congressional battlegrounds. Democrats are targeting 10 seats held by Republicans this year. Republicans are working to flip two, the seats held by Allred and Fletcher.
There is other national GOP money coming to the region. A Republican leadership aligned group, the Congressional Leadership Fund, is expected to spend about $6.25 million in Houston between media advertising and a field operation. The group's television ad campaign is set to begin on Sept. 23.