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L.A. Mayoral Primary Shows Big Bucks Being Spent In Local Races.

Lots of attention in the midterm election cycle has been focused on Washington, but there are some key local races that are taking place this year – and they are already delivering ad dollars to radio. The mayoral race in Los Angeles may prove to be one of the biggest. AdImpact says during this month’s California primaries, more than one of every three dollars spent went to the Los Angeles mayoral race.

AdImpact says $95 million was spent statewide, but it recorded a whopping $33 million across all media types in the mayor’s race in Los Angeles that has Democrats Rick Caruso and Karen Bass and seven other lesser-known candidates jockeying to take over the seat being vacated by incumbent Eric Garcetti, who has been tapped to become the U.S. Ambassador to India. Combined, the two frontrunners have spent $27.4 million so far. And as the race heads to a November runoff election, the good news for radio is that both Bass, who currently serves in Congress, and Caruso, a wealthy developer who has been spending millions of his own money, have both used radio.

Three of every four ad dollars spent on behalf of Caruso went to broadcast TV, according to AdImpact, which puts the tally at $18 million. He spent $3.8 million on cable TV, plus another $2.5 million on digital ads. Caruso also spent $920,000 on radio per AdImpact figures. Caruso was previously registered as a Republican but became a Democrat in January ahead of his run for office.

A total of $2.1 million was spent to promote Bass, with more than half of that coming from the outside PAC called Communities United for Karen Bass. While the candidate herself spent only on cable TV and digital ads, the outside PAC spent across all media – including $60,000 on radio.

The radio numbers spent by the top two, however, are overshadowed by independent candidate Rami Varma, who spent $227,000 on radio and digital ads per AdImpact, before he dropped out the race.

Meantime in the Midwest, AdImpact says a total of $10.7 million was spent in Iowa leading up to its June 7 primary. The most money was spent in the primary for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley. He faced a challenge by Iowa State Senator Jim Carlin, while three candidates were running in the Democratic primary.

Overall, AdImpact says $3.3 million was spent on advertising by the Senate primary candidates. It says the Democrats spent almost four times more than Republican candidates. Grassley and his challenger Carlin spent a combined total of $492,000 while the trio of Democratic candidate invested $1.65 million. Spending was led by Mike Franken ($1.65 million), followed by Grassley, who spent $470,000. “The strength and confidence of the GOP in Iowa is likely reflected through its spending in this election,” says the AdImpact analysis.

AdImpact says the candidates spent the most on digital ads, which added up to $1.039 million. Broadcast TV was a close second with $1.037 million in spending. Candidates also spent $318,000 on cable TV, radio ads totaled $42,000, and satellite TV ads came in at $44,000.

Both Grassley and Franken won their respective primaries, and AdImpact says it has already tracked $30,000 in ad spending for the Senate race targeting November’s general election.

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