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Coffman-Crow Race: Democrats Run Twice As Many Ads As Republicans This Month

(CNN) - In politics, money frequently equals priorities, and as the midterms round the turn toward Election Day, we learn a lot by where both parties are focusing their TV ad campaigns.

Or in the case of Republicans and their allies, not focusing their ads.

A CNN analysis of data from the first eight days of October shows 16 contests considered competitive in CNN's Key Race Ratings where Republicans did not run a single television ad, either because they were no longer actively contesting the race or because they were confident in their chances.

By contrast, Democrats and their allies had only a single key race they didn't play in -- New York's 27th Congressional District, which is rated by CNN as a Likely Republican win for incumbent Rep. Chris Collins, a longtime supporter of President Donald Trump, despite his indictment for insider trading.

Nationally, each party was active in roughly the same number of congressional races -- the Democrats in 112, the Republicans in 103, according to the data. The CNN analysis used data from Kantar Media/CMAG from October 1 through October 8, the most recent currently available. The data includes ads bought by campaigns, parties and super PACs, listed by their support for Republicans or Democrats.

In House races where both parties were active on TV during the period, Democrats aired more than twice as many ads as Republicans in 31 separate districts around the country.

Republicans? They did the same in only four contests.

The disparities echo other moves by both sides to cancel planned advertising campaigns altogether in the final weeks, as they shift ad money to strategically focus in the election's home stretch.

As CNN has reported, the trends overall show Republicans on defense, cutting overlap and shifting resources to critical races, while Democrats are looking to expand the map as they feel the wind at their backs.

In Colorado's 6th Congressional District, for example, where Republican incumbent Mike Coffman faces a fierce challenge from Democrat Jason Crow, an army veteran, Democrats and their allies were twice as active on the air during the October period examined than Republicans -- 1,353 to 688.

coffman crow
Mike Coffman (left) and Jason Crow (right) (credit: CBS)

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a top House Republican Super PAC, recently announced it was canceling all of its planned advertisements there through Election Day altogether to focus elsewhere.

In some districts, the Democratic carpet-bombing during the first eight days of October was especially lopsided: in California's 50th Congressional District, Democrats aired more than 12 times as many ads as Republicans. (That key race, where another longtime Trump supporter, Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is facing federal charges about the improper use of campaign funds, is rated as a Likely Republican seat.)

In the Tossup race in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, an open seat after the incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger lost the Republican primary, the Democrats aired more than six times as many ads. Another tossup in California, the 45th Congressional District, which features incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, had Democrats with nearly five times as many.

Nationally, there were only 15 head-to-head districts where Republicans aired more ads than Democrats at all -- compared to the Democrats winning the air wars in 69 House races during the period in October.

By Aaron Kessler, CNN

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