The March 4 primary election in Texas loomed over political advertising on broadcast television this past week.
The Lone Star State had four of the five markets with the heaviest U.S. Senate-related ads Feb. 18-24, according to data from Kantar Media’s CMAG. The top markets for broadcast TV spots were El Paso (291), Houston (237), Austin (204) and Dallas (203).
Billings, Montana, rounded out the top five with 194 spots during the week. An open Senate seat in that state is generating activity on both the Republican and Democratic sides.
The assumption might be that all the Texas advertising was on account of the primary challenge faced by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in his chamber. Such an assumption would be mostly wrong.
The heaviest advertiser in the state this past week was Dallas dentist David Alameel, who is running for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. He was followed by Cornyn and Maxey Scherr, another Democrat in the primary.
If Cornyn can muster more than 50 percent of the vote, he can avoid a May 27 runoff election. Texas polls show Tea Party affiliated U.S. Rep. Steve Stockman, is Cornyn’s closest — yet still distant — challenger.
Cornyn’s primary test is the first Republican senators will face in the coming weeks and months, with six of the 12 incumbents up for re-election this year facing primary challengers, most aligned with the Tea Party.