Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush is booking more than $1.8 million in fall television advertising across every market in the sprawling 3rd Congressional District, where the former state lawmaker is facing Republican Lauren Boebert.
The race for the open seat has drawn national attention since Boebert toppled five-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the GOP primary.
Mitsch Bush's TV buy, announced Wednesday by her campaign, amounts to twice what she spent on paid media in the 2018 election, when she lost a bid to unseat Tipton, and is the largest ad reservation placed so far this year by a Colorado congressional candidate.
“I’m excited to share more about my vision for Colorado’s 3rd District in the closing months of this campaign,” Mitsch Bush said in a statement.
Added Mitsch Bush: “I have heard from Coloradans across this district about the need to lower skyrocketing health care costs, protect people with pre-existing conditions, defend our public lands, and create an economy that works for everyone.”
A spokeswoman for Boebert's campaign, which has been on the air with modest ad buys since late July, dismissed the significance of the Democrat's announcement.
“Diane spent that much in 2018 to prove she could lose, and she’s going to prove it again," Laura Carno, Boebert's communications director, told Colorado Politics.
Mitsch Bush spent just over $1.8 million total in the last cycle on the way to an 8 percentage point loss to Tipton in the Republican-Leaning district, which covers the Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado.
An internal poll released last week by the Mitsch Bush campaign shows a neck-and-neck race with Boebert, a first-time candidate who has pitched herself as the antidote to Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the outspoken New York congresswoman known as AOC.
A spokesperson for Mitsch Bush said the campaign is reserving ad time on broadcast and cable in all four of the media markets that serve the district — Denver, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs and Albuquerque, which reaches parts of southwestern Colorado. In addition, the campaign plans to run radio and digital ads on top of the TV buy, Caleb Cade told Colorado Politics.
The announcement came days after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Mitsch Bush to its "Red to Blue" program for competitive challengers in GOP-held district. On Monday, EMILY's List, a national organization that raises money for Democratic women candidates, said it was backing Mitch Bush.
Mitsch Bush went on the air last week with a 30-second spot contrasting the Democrat's bipartisan record in the legislature with Boebert's statement that she's "tired of compromise."
The current Mitsch Bush ad also says Boebert wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, though the Boebert campaign disputes this contention, despite a steady stream of attacks she leveled at Tipton during the primary for failing to repeal the law, known as Obamacare.
Through the most recent reporting period ending June 30, Mitsch Bush had raised $1.1 million and had about $200,000 cash on hand. Boebert took in just over $150,000 and had about $10,000 in the bank.
Both campaigns say their fundraising has taken off like gangbusters since they won their parties' nominations on the same day as the last quarter ended.