North Carolina Leads Again In Senate Campaign TV Ads

Photograph by Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Thom Tillis of North Carolina in Washington, D.C.

These are good times for TV stations in North Carolina, a swing state in presidential elections  now hosting a top-tier Senate race.

More television campaign ads have run in North Carolina’s 2014 Senate race, including the past week, than in any other congressional contest.

Seven candidates and groups active in that race combined paid for ads that ran 1,783 times in the week ended April 7, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising.

Outside groups ran 88 percent of the North Carolina Senate ads during the week, underscoring the outsized role of super-political action committees and nonprofit groups that can accept donations in unlimited amounts. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who’s seeking re-election, hasn’t aired ads as she builds her campaign treasury and prepares for a serious Republican opponent in a state that President Barack Obama lost by 2 percentage points in the 2012 election.

The first-round Republican primary on May 6 includes state House Speaker Thom Tillis, the preferred candidate of Republican leaders including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who’s up f0r re-election this year.

Senate Majority PAC, a super-PAC defending Democrats’ 55-45 majority, provided an ad attacking Tillis that ran 558 times during the seven-day period, CMAG data show. Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a nonprofit group, has a spot promoting Hagan’s environmental record that ran 516 times. Other groups active in the North Carolina race include American Crossroads, a Republican super-PAC linked to political strategist Karl Rove that ran a pro-Tillis ad 208 times.

Ted Alexander, a former small-city mayor who’s also in the eight-candidate Republican primary, ran a spot five times on April 6.

TV ads in the North Carolina Senate races have aired 12,900 times during the 2014 campaign through April 7.

Alaska had the second-most ads in the past week, with 1,001 in a state that has a voting-age population of 547,000 compared with North Carolina’s 7.6 million. Sen. Mark Begich, who’s seeking a second term, ran three spots 467 times. American Energy Alliance, a group promoting domestic energy production that also has ties to the Koch brothers, ran an ad 294 times.

Bloomberg News analyzed the Alaska ad activity in a story this week. Last week’s spate of advertising moved Alaska ahead of Louisiana for the fourth-most Senate ads this election cycle, with 7,940 spots. Kentucky is second and Arkansas is third, CMAG data show.

Here are the 10 Senate races that saw the most ad activity on local broadcast stations from April 1-7.

North Carolina: 1,783 ads.

Alaska: 1,001

Michigan: 948

Nebraska: 749

Georgia: 736

Mississippi: 668

Louisiana: 609

Kentucky: 543

Arkansas: 519

Colorado: 486



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