With Pat McCrory sitting on a double-digit lead in the polls, the Republican Governors Association is trimming its spending on TV commercials in North Carolina, according to new data.
The move signals that national Republicans are confident that McCrory is a near-lock to win the governor's race and allows the RGA to spend more in closer races across the country.
The RGA cut $400,000 from its ad buy in the next two weeks starting Monday, independent media buyers reported. "We feel comfortable," spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. "We are going to keep our foot on the gas but not press the pedal all the way to the floor."
The group still plans to spend $2.5 million in the final month on attack ads against Democrat Walter Dalton in addition to the $2 million McCrory is poised to spend. The GOP money more than doubles what Dalton and a liberal group backed by the Democratic Governors Association are scheduled to spend through Election Day.
How much the campaigns spend on TV advertising is key to whether they can get their message to voters ahead of early voting Oct. 16 and Election Day. The numbers are likely to change again because the campaigns are constantly shifting strategies, but the RGA cut back is a significant development.
Schrimpf said the RGA could increase its TV buy in the final weeks but doesn't see a need given the Democratic spending.
Dalton entered the contest more than $1 million in the hole compared to McCrory and fought off a primary challenger. And since the May contest, his campaign hasn't generated the kind of energy necessary to post big fundraising numbers.
The DGA dismisses their counterpart's confidence. It's affiliated N.C. Citizens for Progress just upped their ad spending more than $100,000 in the next couple weeks -- though it's still dwarfed by the GOP buy.