PAC hopes to turn safe districts into battlegrounds


Political AdvertisingThe Campaign for Primary Accountability is a super PAC dedicated to the proposition that long-time members of Congress who reside in safe districts should feel some heat during election year. To that end, it will repeat its 2012 effort to challenge some reps with long Capitol Hill resumes in the primaries.

The group relied on a few rich donors in 2012 and spent around $3M total. For 2014, it is working to expand its fund-raising to the small donor crowd, and hoping to spend even more.

According to The Hill, there are already five incumbents on CPA’s prospective target list: Charles Rangel (D-NY), Lamar Smith (R-TX), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Jo Bonner (R-AL) and Adam Schiff  (D-CA).

To make the list, there has to be evidence that the incumbent is losing popularity in the district but remains safe nevertheless due to the inability of the opposition party to put forward a viable candidate due to a strong plurality of voters in the incumbent’s party.

There also has to be a viable primary challenger – CPA does not intend to fritter its money away on quixotic challenges.

One of the major constraints on the organization is that it steers entirely clear of candidate recruitment. So it watches certain districts in which its other triggers are present and moves in if and when a viable challenger emerges.

RBR-TVBR observation: This will be good for broadcasters in two ways: It will funnel money into congressional districts where traditionally there isn’t any great need for the incumbent to advertiser; and it will do so during the primary season, when political advertising isn’t as heavy and more inventory is available. It’s a win-win windfall for broadcasters lucky enough to make CPA’s target list.