$500,000 in political ads on local TV

Be warned, television viewers. The political campaign ads you’ve seen over the past couple of months are only the beginning.

Many more are yet to come.

A check of commercial ad buys for local television stations as reported to the Federal Elections Commission shows that, so far, nearly $500,000 has been spent on more than 2,000 TV spots airing on local stations, most of which will run by the end of this month.

That means more air time has yet to be bought for October, the last month before the Nov. 4 election.

The preponderance of those ads was purchased by the two candidates for U.S. Senate, Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner.

Though both have been running commercials since July, they are about to increase in intensity each week from now until the election.

The Udall camp has only purchased air time through the end of September but is expected to contract for more next month.

To date, the campaign has spent nearly $40,000 airing more than 340 ads on at least two television stations in July and August, and it plans to nearly match that figure this month alone.

Meanwhile, the Gardner camp has paid about $51,000 to one station alone, KREX Channel 5, airing 160 spots in July and August.

Though the campaign cancelled ads for the next three weeks, they will return by the end of the month and through October. The campaign has 242 ads of its own scheduled to run during that time.

That three-week ad cancellation by Gardner’s camp was replaced by ads that were paid for by the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Gardner’s behalf, 84 spots that cost them more than $12,500.

Both camps also have outside help, but only Gardner supporters, so far, have purchased television time either supporting him or attacking Udall.

Three outside groups have started television spots designed to attack Udall directly or Democrats in general in the Grand Junction television market: The National Repubican Senatorial Committee, Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS, a spin-off group of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC.

Many of those ads are targeting Udall’s support of President Barack Obama in general and his backing of the president’s signature health care act.

“Senator Udall should know we will continue to hold his feet to the fire for supporting ObamaCare,” said Dustin Zvonek, Americans For Prosperity’s Colorado director. “Senator Udall should face the facts and support efforts to end this destructive law. Our ad will hold him accountable for his actions and encourage him to change course.”

Two other major campaigns also have purchased television time in the Grand Junction market — the governor’s race and supporters and opponents of Amendment 68, the measure to expand casino gambling.

To date, only Gov. John Hickenlooper has purchased television time here, and then only for the next two weeks. The Democrat plans to air 83 spots.

Hickenlooper’s GOP rival, Bob Beauprez, hasn’t purchased any TV time here as of yet.

Beauprez spokesman Allen Fuller wouldn’t say for sure if the former congressman plans to air any TV ads in the Grand Valley.

Over the next two months, local television viewers will see almost as many commercials about the gambling amendment as all the other political candidates combined.

Proponents for the effort have spent more than $64,000 for 204 spots, while the better-funded opposition plans 581 commercials this month and next, which cost them nearly $263,000.

Those ads were more expensive than other political ads because of when they will air. Some are set to run during Denver Broncos football games.


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