“In Midterm TV Ad Wars, Sticker Shock Costs Republicans”


Political candidates are protected under a federal law that allows them to pay the lowest price available for broadcast ads. Super PACs have no such protections, and Republicans have been more reliant on super PACs this year because their candidates have had trouble fund-raising. So Democrats have been the ones chiefly benefiting from the mandated low pricing, and Republicans in many top races have been at the mercy of the exorbitant rates charged by television stations as the election nears.

The issue may seem arcane. But strategists in both parties say it has become hugely consequential in midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress.

From Labor Day through early this week, Senate Republican super PACs and campaigns spent more than their opponents on the airwaves in key races in Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Hampshire, according to data from the media-tracking firm AdImpact. But when measured in rating points — a metric of how many people saw the ads — the Democratic ads were seen more times in each of those states, according to two Democratic officials tracking media purchases.

In other words, Democrats got more for less.

Share this: