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DCCC Comes to Murtha’s Aid With Ad Buy

In an effort to protect one of its most famous Members, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure unit will go up Wednesday with an ad in Rep. John Murtha’s (D) southwestern Pennsylvania district.

Although Murtha is not widely considered to be vulnerable, a recent public poll showed him with a 5-point lead over retired Army officer William Russell (R).

The DCCC’s IE arm has made a significant ad buy in the Johnstown market, according to a source familiar with the 30-second spot. The buy is said to be larger than the National Republican Congressional Committee’s $84,000 ad buy that was placed Tuesday in the Pittsburgh market.

“What do we really know about William Russell?” asks an announcer in the ad. “William Russell supports George Bush’s failed economic policies. He supports George Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security, cutting guaranteed benefits. He supports raising the Social Security retirement age, too. And William Russell supports more tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas. Congressman Jack Murtha served his country in Vietnam, and now he’s fighting for our jobs.”

Murtha was not expected to be a target this cycle, especially with the NRCC playing defense for its own Members all over the country. But a Susquehanna Polling and Research poll of 400 likely voters last week gave Murtha a small lead over Russell, 46 percent to 41 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 points.

Democrats’ internal polling gives Murtha a more substantial lead over Russell, but the committee puts a priority on protecting incumbents. A last-minute loss in Murtha’s district could be especially devastating for Democrats, who often use him as a marquee draw for fundraising and outreach to veterans.

Murtha has spent more than $2 million of the $2.1 million that he had raised for his campaign through Oct. 15, according to online records. Russell spent more than $2.6 million in the same time period this cycle, having raised $2.8 million so far for his campaign.

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