As Hurricane Michael bore down Wednesday on the Panhandle with Category 4 winds, the Republican Party of Florida broke with tradition and continued to air two ads bashing Ron DeSantis’ Democratic rival in the race for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, over his city’s response to a hurricane in 2016. And in the U.S. Senate race, the Democratic super PAC backing Sen. Bill Nelson (D) began running a negative commercial in strike-zone markets attacking his opponent Gov. Rick Scott. Also in those markets, a Republican super PAC supporting Scott is attacking Nelson in an ad for being “an empty suit.”
Strategies that let super PACs delay revealing their donors until after the election are gaining popularity among both Democrats and Republicans.
Analysts see political ad spending this year and in 2020 on the upswing. 2020 won’t be a repeat of 2016, it’s predicted, when Donald Trump relied on generating news coverage rather than spending money on a lot of advertising. The importance of TV to political campaigners seemed clear. As one panelist put it: “At the end of the day, if you really want to shape hearts and minds, you still need television.”
Voters across the country are being deluged by an onslaught of television advertising as candidates and big-spending outside groups dump millions of dollars on a growing battleground that stretches from the North Maine Woods to the posh suburbs of San Diego. The two sides and their outside allies have already spent or reserved nearly a half-billion dollars in TV time in the fight over control of the House of Representatives.
The station group says it expects 2018 political advertising revenue to beat its $75 million from 2014 and $101 million from 2016.
When a hurricane hits, atmospheric pressure drops — but political television commercials on The Weather Channel spike. The number of campaigns and outside groups airing political commercials on The Weather Channel has risen dramatically this week as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, according to a top media research company that keeps tabs on cable advertising.
U.S. political advertising for this year’s midterm elections will climb 8% to $8.9 billion versus the same election four years ago, according to Borrell Associates. Digital media spending is forecast to see skyrocketing gains.
What can you do if your station’s news report is used in an incomplete or misleading way by an organization or candidate with an agenda? Unfortunately, the answer may be “not much.”
While stations are cautioned not to share too much information to avoid charges of price fixing, the FCC requires them to post the rates they charge political advertisers, from which smart rival broadcasters can deduce their entire pricing stategy.
Political spending will be plentiful this fall — nearly $4 billion in all — with scores of competitive races expected for House, Senate and gubernatorial seats, according to Kantar Media. But it’s the nature of TV electioneering that some states will take a disproportion share. This fall Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Minnesota look to be among the most favored.