WASHINGTON - A group that supports conservative fiscal policy plans to spend $1.1 million to help a Republican Congressional candidate in the final week of the region's closest House race.

The American Action Network will spend $913,000 on a broadcast television buy in the Philadelphia market between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3, and more on Web ads to aid the GOP's Tom MacArthur in his South Jersey race, a spokeswoman for the group told the Inquirer Tuesday night. (Election Day is Nov. 4).

The Network is the political arm of the American Action Forum, which advocates for center-right fiscal policy.

MacArthur, a former mayor of Randolph in North Jersey, has already spent heavily in his campaign against Democrat Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder, but the contest remains tight heading into the campaign's final weeks. Democrats see the district as one of their best chances in the nation to pick up a Republican-held seat.

MacArthur and Belgard are vying for a seat representing much of Burlington and Ocean counties. The incumbent, U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R., N.J.) is retiring.

MacArthur, a multimillionaire who has largely funded his own campaign, had spent $3 million of his own money on his tough primary and general election as of June 30, the latest reporting date. He has surely spent more since (new reports are due out later this month).

The expensive district includes both the Philadelphia and New York media markets.

"The last thing New Jerseyans need is a Nancy Pelosi puppet like Aimee Belgard to keep breaking her promises and raising their taxes," said a statement from the Network's president, Brian O. Walsh.

Walsh is from North Jersey and in 2006 ran the U.S. Senate campaign of state Sen. Thomas Kean Jr.

National Democrats have reserved $1.3 million of advertising buys on Belgard's behalf and have bombarded MacArthur with attack ads for weeks.

We will update with any comments from the campaigns.

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