Michael Bloomberg is spending $80 million to flip the U.S. House, but none of it in the Philadelphia region for the time being.
Independence USA, the super PAC funded mainly by the billionaire former mayor of New York City, has canceled the $1.2 million in time it had reserved to run commercials on area television stations in support of Democratic House candidates.
A spokesperson for Bloomberg confirmed that Independence USA is stepping back for now.
"Right now, we think that the races in and around Philly are in good shape for the Democrats, and we are focusing on where we can make a difference to flip the House," the spokesperson said. "There's always a chance we come back."
The Philadelphia region is home to some of the most competitive congressional races in the country, including Bucks County's First District and New Jersey's Third District. Bloomberg, a potential 2020 presidential contender, approved a plan in June to spend at least $80 million to oust Republicans from power in the House.
Independence USA's decision to withdraw from the Philly area will inevitably invite speculation about what it means for the midterm election in two weeks. It comes as national Democrats are sounding less bullish about their chances of taking back the House. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that "Democrats now fear the battle for the House majority will be decided by just a handful of seats."
Independence USA's website still notes its support of Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat running in the Sixth District, which includes Chester County and part of Berks County. The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia lists that seat as "safe Democratic" in its projections.
Although not mentioned on Independence USA's website, Bloomberg recently endorsed Democrat Scott Wallace, who is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania's First District.
Bloomberg announced his support for Wallace at Sunday's annual fall dinner for Montgomery County's Democratic Party, which he headlined, the Wallace campaign said.
The statistical website FiveThirtyEight calls the Bucks County race and the sprint for New Jersey’s Third District “toss-ups.”