There’s nothing like a hot political race to inject some unexpected cash into the broadcast cash register – and it’s especially cool when your race is the only game in town, attracting the sole focus of the national campaign PACs in Washington. Such is the case of New York’s 20th Congressional District, where Kirsten Gillibrand received a promotion from Gov. David Paterson from Representative to Senator to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Gillibrand was a Blue Dog Democrat operating in traditional Republican territory, but its also in the northeast (the sprawling district, containing lots of rural turf, almost completely surrounds the state capital Albany), making it a prime battleground district. Democrat Scott Murphy is said to be catching up to Republican Jim Tedisco, who was an early favorite in the race to replace Gillibrand. The Washington organizations from both parties are said to be pouring cash into the race, which some see as an early intramural referendum on the brief reign of Michael Steele as head of the Republican National Committee. Citizens are scheduled to vote 3/31/09.
Also in for this type of spotlight is California’s 19th District, to replace Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. However, the potential to attract national cash is limited, since the East Los Angeles district went for Barack Obama over John McCain by a 68%-30% margin. A 5/19/09 primary will decide the matter if any candidate can top 50%; if not, the top vote-getters from each party will face off with the Democrat heavily favored. Any advertising cash generated figures to be from local sources.