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Fall Preview: $252M In Ad Time Reserved For Congressional Races In Past Three Weeks.


The Presidential race gets all the media attention, but down-ballot races are where local radio stations get most of their political dollars. And there is good news on that front from the ad-tracking firm AdImpact. It says during the last three weeks, the Republican-promoting Congressional Leadership Fund has reserved $109 million worth of ads across 37 markets for the fall. That is in addition to the $143 million of ad time reserved by the Democrat-supporting House Majority PAC.


AdImpact’s analysis shows the congressional ad dollars are highly concentrated, with 87% of the buys made in the same markets by both the GOP and Democrats. The metro that has seen the biggest number of reservations is Los Angeles, where $35.2 million of ad time has been reserved backing congressional candidates so far. New York is second at $31.2 million. Portland, OR follows with $12.9 million, with Detroit ($12 million) and Phoenix ($10.5 million) not far behind.


The Democrats’ House Majority PAC currently has a spending advantage in 18 of the 37 markets where the two political groups are battling it out, although AdImpact says that is driven mainly by its big-spending advantage in Los Angeles, Detroit and Portland, OR. The analysis also shows that the Republicans’ Congressional Leadership Fund has not reserved any ad time in Nevada despite several competitive races in the state. It has, however, spent in Alaska, where no Democrat time reservations have been placed.


During the current presidential cycle, AdImpact calculates $2.66 billion has already been spent on political ads. That is a bump up from the $2.34 billion spent at this point four years ago.


During the past two weeks, it tracked $120 million in political ads. The top market was New York, where $7.3 million was spent ahead of the state’s June 25 primary. Washington was the second-biggest recipient, at $5.6 million, followed by Las Vegas, with $4 million of political buys.


The top spending race was the Presidential contest, with $7.1 million spent. President Biden continues to dominate the airwaves and, according to AdImpact, he has had over $230 million in ad support and reservations since Super Tuesday. In comparison, former President Trump has received $28.4 million in ad support and reservations since Super Tuesday. The analysis says the two states where both contenders are on the air are Pennsylvania and Georgia.


AdImpact also reports that it tallied $50.4 million in ad spending during Montana’s June 4 primary. Nearly all the spending — $46.8 million — went to the U.S. Senate race where Republicans hope to pick up the seat currently held by Sen. John Tester (D-MT). The incumbent had $15.5 million in ad support versus $13.5 million for Tim Sheehy, who will go head-to-head with Tester on Election Day.


AdImpact says the Montana Senate race will be one of the most competitive, with $124.4 million of ad reservations already locked in for the fall.

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