The Democratic Party has pulled more than $800,000 worth of air time apparently intended for the Congressional District 16 race to benefit Democrat David Shapiro, who's challenging U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key.
The move could mean that the party is less optimistic about Shapiro's chances of unseating Buchanan after a couple of polls recently showed Shapiro trailing.
Still, the move comes as Shapiro is boasting highly successful fundraising, $697,988 in August and September plus a $150,000 loan from himself, with $434,553 in cash on hand at the end of the period.
For the same period, Buchanan showed $176,727, but gave his campaign his second loan of $250,000 and finished with $1.48 million.
There could be confusion, however, over which congressional race that the air time, mostly on Tampa stations, was intended for.
Advertising Analytics, which tracks political television advertising, tweeted this week that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House campaign arm of the national party, had pulled $816,000 in ads aimed at Tampa-area District 15, where Democrat Kristen Carlson is facing Republican Ross Spano for the open seat of outgoing Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland.
But another firm had previously reported the party pulled $500,000 in ads for the District 16 Buchanan-Shapiro race, including some air time on Sarasota stations. It would be useful only in District 16.
Buchanan spokesman Max Goodman said the cuts were in air time intended for the District 16 race, and Democrats didn't deny that.
"Investments change on a weekly basis and we're not going to reveal our playbook, but David Shapiro … has put himself in a strong position to win this race," said Cole Leiter, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Democrats may need the money because they are facing tougher-than-expected races in two South Florida congressional districts.