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Hot Races In Maryland, Indiana And West Virginia Give Boost To Political Ad Totals.

The political ad season is springing to life this week, with primaries in Maryland and West Virginia on Tuesday and last week’s Indiana primary. As a result, AdImpact says it has tracked $114.7 million in political ad spending during the past two weeks. That brings the 2024 cycle total up to $2.39 billion through May 10. That compares to $2.2. billion spent at this point during the 2020 cycle.

On Facebook and Google, AdImpact says it traced $6.7 million in digital ads during the past two weeks. The Presidential election was the biggest race, with the Biden Victory Fund spending $560,000 while the Republican National Committee spent $322,000.

But the real action in recent days has been at the state level. With the Maryland primary battle, the biggest ad markets were Washington, which had $12.6 million of political ads, according to AdImpact, followed by Baltimore, with $9.7 million. The Indiana primary lifted the Indianapolis market, with $5.4 million of election-related ads.

AdImpact says the open Maryland Senate primary had $56.5 million in total ad spending through the end of last week, with Rep. David Trone’s campaign responsible for 82% of it. The analysis says the Democratic House member has spent $45.7 million in his effort to move over to the Senate, with no support coming from any outside groups. Fellow Democratic candidate Angela Alsobrooks has spent $3.9 million and received $2 million in ad support from Women Vote, a group affiliated with Emily’s List.

AdImpact says among Maryland Republicans, Robin Ficker has spent $3.4 million while former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has spent $1.4 million in coordinated ads with the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The open West Virginia Senate race has seen a total of $10.9 million of ad spending, per AdImpact. It says Republican Gov. Jim Justice has had $5.9 million in ad support for his effort to go to Washington. Alex Mooney is a distant second, with $2.8 million in ad support.

With Justice leaving his current job, the open Gubernatorial primary in West Virginia has been a lot more competitive, in terms of advertising. AdImpact says $32.8 million has been spent on the race through last week. It says Republican Patrick Morrisey has received $16.3 million in ad support, with nearly half coming from Black Bear PAC and Club for Growth Action, spending a combined $10.9 million. Other Republican candidates spending big include Chris Miller, who has had $12.6 million in ad support, and Moore Capito, who has had $3.9 million worth.

Last week’s Indiana gubernatorial primary wound up with $45.3 million in total ad spending per AdImpact, which says it was the most expensive gubernatorial primary of the 2024 cycle. It was also the fifth most expensive gubernatorial primary of all time. U.S. Sen. Mike Braun won the GOP nomination with $12.2 million in ad support, which was behind the $12.8 million spent by Brad Chambers and on par with the $12.2 million spent by Eric Doden.

But money does not equal votes and Braun won with 40% of the vote, versus 17% for Chambers and 12% for Doden. Suzanne Crouch, who had $5.3 million in ad spending, came in second, with a 22% share of the primary vote.

Looking ahead, AdImpact says it has already seen $775 million in fall reservations targeting the Senate, House, and Presidential elections with the Democrats holding “significant” advantages. Democrats have twice as much booked in Senate races ($320 million versus $164 million), while in the House races Democrats have booked $159 million in ad time versus $1.6 million by the GOP. The gap is most dramatic in the Presidential race. The Biden campaign has reserved ad time worth $130 million to date, while the Trump campaign has yet to book any ad time for the fall.

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