Every week Project Open Vault receives new political ad buy contracts from three mid-Missouri TV stations, updating our ad spending database as soon as possible. Provided below is a quick analysis of the ad buys collected for the weeks of Oct. 16 and 23:
(Editor’s note: The numbers presented below all represent ad buys made for the last two weeks of the election cycle. Due to the short time from now until the election, most candidates and committees buying ads have reserved air time to run ads between Oct. 22 and Nov. 6)
Even though mid-Missouri TV screens have been saturated with political ads from U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates — with no sign of this coming to an end until Nov. 6 — local voters are beginning to see ads from different candidates. With two weeks left until the general election, local candidates are beginning to flex their monetary muscles and reserve air time for ads set to run from now until election day.
State 19th Senate District: Incumbent Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer and Democrat state Rep. Mary Still are continuing to attack each other on the air as they vie for one of Missouri’s 34 state Senate seats. The two Columbia-based lawmakers have been running a contentious race for the Senate seat, with both Schaefer and Still criticizing each other for their records, or lack thereof, as members of Missouri’s General Assembly. Over the past two weeks, Schaefer bought $157,755 worth of ads and Still bought $40,990 worth of air time.
State 47th House District: Democratic candidate John Wright bought $18,705 worth of ads over the past weeks. Wright previously reserved ad time for the last weeks of the election a few months ago and a part of his most recent buys are revisions to those contracts. He is currently re-running an ad entitled “Hickman” that he released in July. Wright’s opponent, Republican Mitch Richards, has not reserved any air time.
State 45th House District: Incumbent state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, has continued to reserve air time, most recently with a $1,230 ad buy. Kelly is running unopposed for his ninth stint as a state representative.
State 44th House District: Both candidates for this House seat have begun running ads, with Republican Caleb Rowden supplementing his previous ad reservations with a $60,065 ad buy and Democrat Ken Jacob bought $54,970 worth of mid-Missouri air time. While Rowden is a relative newcomer to politics, Jacob has previously served in the state legislature.
Boone County Northern District commissioner: Democratic candidate Janet Thompson, bought $480 worth of ads, supplementing the more than $5,000 buy she made two weeks ago. Thompson’s opponent, Republican Don Bormann, has not reserved any mid-Missouri air time as of yet.
Callaway County Eastern District commissioner: Republican candidate Randall Kleindienst bought $735 worth of air time to run 31 ads from now until Nov. 5. Kleindienst’s opponent, Democrat Bryant Liddle, has not reserved air time so far.
Even with the new influx of ads from local candidates, Missouri’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidates are not taking a break from going after each other on the air. Over the past two weeks incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill bought $101,235 worth of ads while her opponent, Todd Akin, purchased $26,950 of air time. Akin is continuing to run an ad he released two weeks ago, which criticizes McCaskill for her husband’s connection to businesses which received federal stimulus funds. McCaskill, meanwhile, has continued to release new ads, tone of which has her discussing her stance on China, while the most recent one shows veterans talking about their support of McCaskill.
In recent ads from both of Missouri’s gubernatorial candidates, both incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon and Republican challenger Dave Spence take the same approach, using each of their 30-second ads to go after the other for his positions while promoting their own. During the past two weeks, Nixon bought $183,200 worth of ads while Spence bought $81,250.
Two independent groups have also recently entered the mid-Missouri ad market, where one is involved in the U.S. Senate race and the other with a statewide ballot initiative.
Reinventing a New Direction, a political action committee commonly known as Rand PAC, bought $10,300 worth of mid-Missouri air time to run ads against McCaskill. The group’s ad criticizes McCaskill’s record on foreign policy, especially with sending tax-payer dollers to countries in the Middle East.
RandPAC became another Republican group to begin recently supporting Akin even after his “legitimate rape” comments when it announced earlier this month that it would be running the ads statewide. The group was founded and is operated by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
The Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, which funds a political action committee serving its interests, bought $23,850 worth of air time last week. Campaign finance reports from the Missouri Ethics Commission show MPCA has being raising and spending money to operate an opposition campaign to Proposition B, which asks Missouri voters whether the state should raise its 17 cent a pack tobacco tax to 90 cents. Another group, Missourians for Health and Education, previously reserved air time for ads that are currently running in support of Proposition B.
Other mid-Missouri ad buys:
- Incumbent Democrat Chris Koster is continuing to run ads aimed against his Republican challenger as he defends his position as the state’s attorney general. Koster bought $79,565 worth of ads that are largely aimed against the record of his opponent, Ed Martin. Meanwhile, Martin is taking the same approach, purchasing $8,070 worth of air time, adding to his past buys for ads against Koster.
- The Democratic candidate for the Secretary of State office, Jason Kander, is currently running ads that detail his service in the U.S. Army. A state representative, Kander bought $60,220 worth of air time over the past two weeks and is running against a Republican House colleague, Shane Schoeller, in the bid for office.
- Incumbent state Tresurer Clint Zweifel purchased $19,450 worth of ads as he defends his seat against Republican challenger Cole McNary, who is currently a state representative.
- Susan Montee, the Democratic candidate for liuetenant governor, bought $3,600 worth of air time last week. Montee’s opponent, incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, has not run ads since the Republican primary.
- Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler bought $70,725 worth of ads over the past two weeks. She is running against Democrat Teresa Hensley, who is hoping to unseat Hartzler from her Congressional seat. Hensley has not been running ads recently.