WASHINGTON -- The National Republican Congressional Campaign said Tuesday that it's reserving $1.1 million in cable TV time for ads to help whoever wins the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).
The Republicans' ad buy falls short of the $1.4 million in cable TV time that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said last month it had reserved for the fall in the East End House race.
This is the second election in a row the NRCC has targeted Bishop. It spent $657,220 on ads against him in 2012.
NRCC spokesman Ian Prior called Bishop "one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the country" because of an ethics complaint against him, his support of the Affordable Care Act and his loyal Democratic voting record.
DCCC spokesman Josh Schwerin said the NRCC support shouldn't come as a surprise because both Republicans seeking to challenge Bishop would support the House Republicans' "out-of-touch priorities."
The NRCC ads won't start until after GOP voters on Tuesday decide New York State's most expensive and heated Republican primary race, between state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) and Ronkonkoma lawyer George Demos.
Demos, a largely self-funded candidate, has spent $1.9 million, and Zeldin nearly $585,000 on the race.
Outside GOP super PACs and "dark money" nonprofits that don't identify donors have spent more than $1.2 million: $830,496 against Zeldin and $380,344 against Demos.
Zeldin also was targeted by $7,977 in mailings by Patriot Majority USA, a dark-money group run by Democratic strategist Craig Varoga.
Varoga said his group will oppose "extreme right-wing factions of the tea party" by telling voters "these politicians are bad for their districts."
Zeldin campaign manager Chapin Fay said, "This is proof positive of the carefully laid plan by Democrats to split the ticket and protect Tim Bishop."
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the amount of money targeted for Zeldin by Patriot Marjority USA.