Georgia Tops in Senate Ads as Republican Primary Intensifies

More campaign television ads aired in Georgia in the past week than in any other state holding a Senate race, underscoring the competitiveness of a first-round Republican primary next month.

Five candidates and two outside groups in the Georgia Senate race provided ads that ran 2,306 times on local broadcast stations from April 15-21, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks advertising. The primaries are on May 20.

Ending Spending Action Fund, a super-political action committee founded by former TD Ameritrade executive Joe Ricketts, provided two ads attacking Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey that ran 809 times during the week.

Democrat Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn, paid for ads to run 620 times as she builds her statewide profile before a Democratic primary in which she faces minimal opposition. Nunn formerly led the volunteer-service organization Points of Light.

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Republican Rep. Jack Kingston’s two spots — one of them highlighting his “work-for-welfare” philosophy — aired a total of 437 times during the week.

Another Republican contender, businessman David Perdue, ran a spot 222 times touting “40 years of experience in the real world” while saying he would bring “a bucketful of common sense with the right experience.”

Gingrey, an obstetrician before entering political life, ran a spot 134 times that highlights his promise to “go home” if President Barack Obama’s health-care law isn’t repealed in his first six-year term. Gingrey introduced a new ad today.

A second super-PAC, Citizens for a Working America PAC, began running an ad April 18 attacking Kingston on fiscal policy. The PAC supports Perdue, according to a document it filed to the Federal Communications Commission, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

A spot from former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel ran 10 times. Rep. Paul Broun, the other major Republican contender, hasn’t gone on local broadcast television during the campaign.

With no Republican likely to win a majority of votes in the primary, a runoff on July 22 probably will be needed to determine the Republican nominee. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring.

Georgia’s ads running 2,306 in the seven-day period ended April 21 was followed by Alaska’s 1,679 spots. Alaska, which has 710,000 residents compared with 9.7 million in Georgia, has three major Republican contenders seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Begich. Bloomberg News profiled the Alaska ad war earlier this month.

The five Senate races with the highest ad count during the period also include Mississippi (1,317 spots), where Republican Sen. Thad Cochran faces a challenge in the June 3 primary from state Sen. Chris McDaniel; North Carolina (1,293), where there’s a first-round Republican primary May 6 in a state where Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is seeking a second term; and Kentucky (1,108), where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is opposed in the May 20 primary by businessman Matt Bevin.

For the 2014 campaign to date, the 15,588 ads in North Carolina are the most in any Senate race, CMAG data show.

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