Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading the Weekend Wall Street Journal, when I came across this item in John McCormick’s piece about the $7.5 billion being spent nationally on 2022 midterm campaign ads.
The Las Vegas market has had the heaviest advertising since Labor Day. Nevada is home to competitive races for governor and both chambers of Congress. Philadelphia, a top market in a state with open-seat races for Senate and governor, saw the second-most spots. Boston, in third place, covers parts of New Hampshire, where there are competitive House and Senate races.
What the hell, Doc – is it right that the good people of Boston should get dragged into the Granite State’s sadstravaganza?
– Campaign Addled
It’s not right, it’s politics.
Here’s the tally of campaign ads on broadcast and cable TV through October 17, according to AdImpact.
More to the point, the New Hampshire Senate race between incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan and challenger Don Bolduc (R-Gen. Strangelove) has produced almost $50 million in ad spending overall.
But here’s the difference: According to this Journal graphic on the share of negative ads aired, the Democrats are largely less combative overall than the smashmouth GOP.
That seems especially true in the Hassan-Bolduc race, given this YouTube compilation of Hassan’s recent ads, only one of which attacks Bolduc.
Hassan’s own YouTube channel doesn’t even include that spot, so she’s not exactly Maggie-fying Bolduc’s negatives.
Check out this chart, though, from McCormick’s WSJ piece detailing what “candidates and their allies” spent on TV ads from Labor Day through October 18.
That twenty-something million virtually all came from two Republican party groups – Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (representative samples here and here) – both of which, according to this piece by New York Times reporters Shane Goldmacher and Trip Gabriel, have cancelled millions more in New Hampshire ad buys.
The SLF had planned to spend $23 million on the Bolduc-Hassan bakeoff, but seems to have drawn the line at $18 million. Still, that’s throwing a lot of good money after a bad candidate.
Then again, at least Boston TV viewers will be spared five million more dollars of attacks on Hassan by McConnell’s wet workers. Be thankful for small favors, yeah?
Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today nd here’s what poured out.
Dear Dr. Ads,
There I was, minding my own business and reading Punchbowl News, when I came across this item by Max Cohen.
Voters in the country’s most competitive House and Senate races face a deluge of Republican ads focusing on the dubious claim that Democrats have empowered the IRS to hire an army of 87,000 new agents to target the middle class.
Since Aug. 1, Republican candidates and groups have spent more than $12 million on roughly 24,000 airings of ads warning of a massive influx of IRS agents, according to an AdImpact analysis. The spots are targeting vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and New Hampshire, as well as toss-up House races from Michigan to Kansas.
But at the heart of the attack ads is an argument the IRS itself says is “inaccurate.” Experts say that the IRS is mainly seeking to replenish its aging workforce and beef up its outdated tech, not hound average Americans.
What the hell, Doc – all these Republican grifters just get to lie their way into office?
That seems to be the general drift of this election cycle. Then again, $12 million is lunch money in the big scheme of this year’s U.S. Senate races, as evidenced by this Katherine Huggins piece at MarketWatch.
Outside spending is pouring into the 2022 Senate races, as Democratic control of the chamber hangs in flux.
Nearly $450 million in outside spending has been spent on Senate races so far this cycle, according to OpenSecrets, a watchdog group that tracks money in politics. Just over 80% of that sum, or about $360 million, went to the 10 races deemed competitive by Cook Political Report.
Lunch money or not, $12 million in lying ads is not nothing, as Punchbowl News points out, especially when it puts falsehoods like these on the public radar screen
→ Senate Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, accused Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) of voting “yes to 87,000 new IRS employees to audit the middle class.”
→SLF also assailed Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) for his vote “to hire 87,000 new IRS employees to dig even deeper in middle class pockets.”
None of that is true. Here’s what is true: “The IRS expects up to 50,000 of its current 80,000 employees to retire in the next five years. And despite facing a far broader set of responsibilities, the agency is operating with far fewer employees than it was 30 years ago, when the IRS boasted 117,000 workers.”
So most of the new hires will simply replace the departing staffers. Beyond that, the IRS is about as technologically sophisticated as Donald Trump, so a bunch of the other new hires will be tech geeks, not jack-booted tax auditors.
The GOP’s deceptive campaign ads don’t stop there, though, as Judd Legum reported in his Popular Information newsletter.
One of the challenges of attacking any Democratic incumbent on crime is identifying a basis for the attack. Democrats have controlled Congress for two years and, for better or worse, have not done anything to reform the criminal justice system or reduce the power of law enforcement. Both the Senate and House have passed legislation, the Invest to Protect Act, that would provide tens of millions of additional funding to local police departments.
That didn’t stop Republican candidates and the groups that support them from running 53,000 commercials on crime during the first three weeks of September. Over the same time period, “50 percent of all Republican online ads in battleground states…focused on policing and safety.”
As Legum notes, however, the windfall for felons was a bipartisan gift.
The ad claims that Warnock voted “to send almost a billion in COVID relief checks to hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals in prison.” There are similar attack ads currently being run against Democratic Senate candidates in Ohio and Florida. And the NRSC has made the same claim against Democratic Senate candidates in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Nevada.
These ads, however, are extremely deceptive. If Democrats “chose felons” over law-abiding families, so did almost every incumbent Republican Senator and former President Trump.
A majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results
Experts say their dominance in the party poses a threat to the country’s democratic principles and jeopardizes the integrity of future votes
A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices — 299 in all — have denied or questionedthe outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in four states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined.
The worst part? “Although some are running in heavily Democratic areas and are expected to lose, most of the election deniers nominated are likely to win: Of the nearly 300 on the ballot, 174 are running for safely Republican seats. Another 51 will appear on the ballot in tightly contested races.”