House Democrats will spend a record $4.2 million on television ads in Arizona during the last weeks of this year’s election.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved millions of dollars in airtime — including $700,000 in the Tucson market — to defend three incumbent Democrats from serious challenges from Republicans, an aide with the committee confirmed.

Current plans call for:

  • $2.2 million for six weeks of ads on broadcast and cable channels in the Phoenix market for the Congressional District 1, represented by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick 
  • $700,000 for three weeks of ads in the Tucson market for the Congressional District 2, represented by Rep. Ron Barber.

  • $1.5 million for two weeks of ads in the Phoenix market for the Congressional District 9, represented by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

Reserving the ads so early in the political cycle will save the committee millions of dollars, allowing the campaign arm of the House Democrats to avoid paying a premium for the much sought-after time slots weeks before the general election, which is Nov. 4. The primary election is Aug. 26.

In all, the Democratic committee will spend nearly $44 million nationally to place television ads in 36 key districts this fall.

Committee officials concede the precise amounts could change before October when most of the ads are set to run.

The committee could decide, for example, to shift money away from some districts in order to concentrate on tight races at the last minute.

Another group, a super PAC associated with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also placed a $1 million ad buy in October for the Arizona market.

The House Majority PAC will spend about $143,000 in the Tucson television market, with the remainder largely being spent in the Phoenix area.

Pelosi’s PAC has already aired ads supporting Barber and Kirkpatrick earlier this year.

Daniel Scarpinato with the National Republican Congressional Committee brushes off the ad buys, saying Democrats in the House are desperate to keep Barber and Kirkpatrick in their seats.

“Nancy Pelosi clearly knows that Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick have done so little to stand up for Southern Arizonans that it’s going to take millions for her to buy their way to re-election. But all the ads in the world can’t hide the fact that Barber and Kirkpatrick are part of the problem in Washington,” Scarpinato said.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson