Political TV Spending On Record Pace

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With Democrats facing the potential of big gains in the House and Senate, and incumbent Republicans trying to hold on to those seats, spending on TV ads for candidates and issues are up a whopping 150% from last midterm election, with $311 million spent so far on local TV ads for politicians and issues.

According to research company TNS Media Intelligence, that is on pace to break the 2002 record for mid-term spending, and perhaps even top the 2004 record for political TV dollars, though it had not supplied those figures at press time. State and federal political parties have spent about $20 million of that.

The top dozen states for political TV dollars for Senate campaigns--accounting for $44 million of the take--are California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska, Connecticut, Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

The single costliest Senate race so far has been for the seat of disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham--$13 million.

But the governor's race is where the big money players are shelling out the biggest bucks. With self-funded candidates for governor in California already having spent over $100 million on television ads since January, TNS predicts the final total in that state alone, when local races and ballot initiatives are added in, could top $300 million. New York, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida, Ohio and Texas could each account for over $100 million by election day, says TNS.

Broadcast TV still has the lion's share of the buys, but cable is making some inroads due to the targeted nature of the buys and the big coffers of the campaigns, says TNS.

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