Midterm Election Ads Action-PAC'd, While California Sports Betting Spend Rivals Senate Races.


Between U.S. Senate and House, gubernatorial, ballot measure and other 2022 midterm election races, total ad spend has passed the $2.4 billion mark, according to AdAge's tally in partnership with Kantar/CMAG.


There are two especially notable trends according to AdAge and Kantar's analysis of the total spend, which includes TV, radio and tracked digital advertising from Dec. 28, 2021 through July 25, 2022. Driving the House races' spend-to-date are campaigns bankrolled by political action committees, accounting for seven of the ten biggest spenders and three-fourths (75.6%) of the top ten's total spend of $340 million. In California, meanwhile, spending on just ads for or against Proposition 27, which would allow online sports betting, already totals $118 million, making it one of the five most-expensive campaigns so far.


House race spending overall stands at $534 million, where Republicans ($292 million) lead Democrats ($242 million), just as the Republicans' Congressional Leadership Fund has spent the most, at $119 million, and the Democrats' House Majority PAC ranks second at $87 million. While nine of the top ten spenders are PACs or parties, accounting for 75.5% of total spend, just one is from an individual candidate's campaign, for Democratic Rep. Katie Porter in California’s 45th congressional district, seeking reelection in the newly drawn 47th. The five most expensive House races to date include two in Nevada and one each in Minnesota, Texas and New Hampshire, totaling $82 million or 15.4% of total ad spend.


Also in California, Proposition 27 ad spending is split down the middle between ads from the “Yes” and “No” factions, with three online sports betting advertisers – DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM – helping to pick up the tab for the former. The $118 million spent to date puts the ballot measure among the five most expensive campaigns, behind U.S. Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona and just ahead of Nevada's Senate race. That's not including an additional $100 million spent by groups either pro- or anti- California's Proposition 26, aka Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative.


As for other races, U.S. Senate campaign ad spend totals $958 million, with Republicans ($508 million) again outspending Democrats ($436 million). Gubernatorial race campaign midterm ad spending accounts for $573 million, also with Republicans ($304 million) ahead of Democrats ($264 million).

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