October 27, 2012

Washington Notebook: Ad wars could send your head spinning

Nearly 6,000 Senate ads aired on Maine broadcast networks from Oct. 1 to Oct. 21, researchers find.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, researchers and students with the Wesleyan Media Project released some interesting statistics on the crush of political ads filling the airwaves in Maine and across the country.

Related headlines


• Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: 1,463 ads

• Summers campaign: 1,064 ads

• Angus King campaign: 1,035 ads

• National Republican Senatorial Committee (pro-Summers/anti-King): 975 ads

• Americans Elect (pro-King): 484 ads

• Crossroads GPS (anti-King): 396 ads

• U.S. Chamber of Commerce (anti-King/pro-Summers): 381 ads

• League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club (anti-Summers/pro-King): 111 ads

We included some of the Maine-specific results of that research in Thursday's story about how non-Maine groups are actually out-spending the candidates in Maine's Senate race -- a fact that underscores the national implications of the race.

Below are a few more Maine factoids (courtesy of Bowdoin College Associate Professor Michael Franz, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project) and other stats that didn't make it into Thursday's story:

The 5,909 Senate ads that aired on Maine broadcast networks from Oct. 1-21 ranked 13th on the list of Senate ad wars. But if you thought that was overkill, consider what TV watchers in Montana were seeing. More than 25,000 Senate ads aired in Montana during that period.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aired more ads than any other group or candidate during the first three weeks of October, all of them opposing Republican Charlie Summers (and, significantly, none of them endorsing Democrat Cynthia Dill).


Crossroads GPS, the super PAC co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, is spending another $330,000 on ads targeting Maine Senate candidate Angus King.

The latest ad -- the second by Crossroads GPS -- takes a similar line of attack against King as other ads, accusing the former governor and current race leader of raising taxes, slashing funding for schools and then supporting policies that helped his wind energy business. The King campaign has rebutted such charges in the past.

Crossroads GPS has already spent $309,000 on ads in Maine's Senate race and the latest ad is part of the super PAC's largest push yet into Senate races.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads -- another super PAC founded by Rove -- planned to spend an additional $8 million last week on ads in Indiana, Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and Wisconsin.

More than $5.7 million has been spent by outside groups on ads in Maine's Senate race as of Tuesday, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Washington Bureau Chief Kevin Miller can be reached at 317-6256 or at: kmiller@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC


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