How in the World Did $16.7 Billion Get Spent on the 2022 Midterms?

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 Politico Weekly Score’s Pre-Election Day Special Edition by Madison Fernandez,  when I came across this knee-buckling statistic.

— $16.7 billion: The new projected total spending on state and federal elections blows away the 2018 record. Federal candidates and political committees are expected to spend $8.9 billion, while state candidates, party committees and ballot measure committees are on track to hit more than $7.8 billion, per OpenSecrets.

What the hell, Doc – have they completely lost their minds?

– All Those Dollars and No Sense

Dear All Those,

Well yes they have.

Here’s how the Politico piece broke down the spending.

— $272 million: That’s how much party committees have booked on TV, cable, satellite, radio and digital ads from the beginning of the year through Election Day, per AdImpact. The Democrats spent more over the last eleven months in both chambers. DCCC tops that list with over $96 million, followed by NRCC with over $91 million. DSCC poured in over $45 million, and NRSC spent over $39 million.

— $693 million: That spending script is flipped when it comes to the parties’ flagship congressional super PACs. Republicans dominated the space, contributing to over half of that total. Senate Leadership Fund and Congressional Leadership Fund booked over $206 million and $189 million, respectively. Senate Majority PAC booked over $155 million, and House Majority PAC dedicated over $142 million.

Donald Trump’s MAGA, Inc. grudgingly coughed up $16 million across a handful of swing states, but that’s chump change compared to 1) the total amount he’s fleeced the rubes for, and 2) the amounts spent by other outside groups.

“We’ve also seen huge ad spending from outside groups like Club for Growth Action (over $61 million since the beginning of the year), Citizens for Sanity (over $59 million) and Mitch McConnell-affiliated One Nation (over $58 million),” Politico’s Fernandez wrote.

It’s all been pretty smashmouth, but especially vile has been the advertising campaign from the self-styled Citizens for Sanity, a dark-money PAC spearheaded by MAGA gunsel Stephen (Babysnatcher) Miller. As Matt Stieb wrote in New York’s Intelligencer, “[the] ads have been flagged on YouTube as “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences” and widely decried as blatantly racist.”

This one serves as a representative sample.

PolitiFact’s overall grades for the group tell you all you need to know about it.

All those dollars and no sense of decency, eh?

Wait – 30,000 NH Campaign Ads on Boston Airwaves Since Labor Day?

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

Dear 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.

As for Gen. Strangelove, he launched this TV spot – the first from his campaign – in early October

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  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?