“It’s really good to have stations in Georgia right now.” That comment from Bill Hendrich, outbound Executive VP of Radio at Cox Media Group, resonates more deeply every week as “overtime” campaign spending in the Peach State reaches astronomical levels. The latest tally from Ad Age Datacenter shows $440 million has already been spent ahead of a pair of early January runoff elections. That includes all spending as of Dec. 10, including advance booking that will run through Jan. 5.
The third Campaign Ad Scorecard (CAS), Overtime Edition—part of an ongoing project led by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown in partnership with Kantar/CMAG, has been diligently tracking ad spending for the runoffs. On Nov. 18 the amount hit $101 million. Less than a week later, that nearly tripled to $272 million. Now with three weeks to go until voters head to the polls, the tally is approaching a half billion dollars.
Ad Age calls the spending “completely out of control.”
To refresh your memory, the Jan. 5 vote involves two Republican incumbents aiming to hang on to their U.S. Senate seats in a battle royale that will determine which political party controls the chamber. In one race, Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler faces Democrat opponent Raphael Warnock. In the other, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, the Republican incumbent first elected in 2014, faces Democrat Jon Ossoff.
Ad Age reports Ossoff continues to remain out front in spending, having shelled out $68 million on ads, mainly in TV and radio, with some digital thrown, from Nov. 3 through Jan. 5. Perdue’s campaign has dropped $41 million so far.
Loeffler’s total has risen to $47 million, far behind the $66 million invested by Warnock.
Political action committees have thrown down an additional $113 million so far, led by two Republican PACs: American Crossroads ($48 million) and the Senate Leadership Fund ($45 million). To date no Democratic PAC has exceeded $20 million in bookings.
Ad Age Data Center shows Apollo/Cox Media Group’s ABC affiliate WSB-TV far out front in runoff spending with 23.5% of the total or $68.2 million. The Fox, NBC and CBS TV affiliates are next in line but with far less bookings. Earlier data shared with Inside Radio by Kantar showed Apollo/Cox news/talk giant WSB/WSBB (750, 95.5) ahead among Atlanta radio stations. Plenty of other Atlanta radio stations are receiving ad buys and they go beyond news/talk to include adult R&B, classic hits, AC, hip-hop/R&B, country, gospel and contemporary Christian.