Colorado political ad spending nears $43M

Colorado TV stations reported another $7.4 million in advertising spending last week, bringing the total this election year to $42.8 million through Aug. 8.

That’s 424 hours or 17.7 days worth of political ads, most of which will air starting in September and October.

TV stations are required to file political ad contracts with the Federal Communications Commission. Each week, @fishnette compiles Colorado ad buys and analyzes them. The data doesn’t include buys for cable or satellite television, which aren’t required to file with the FCC. And stations often wait to file contracts for days or even weeks, so the data isn’t comprehensive.

Still, it gives a good overall look at the political advertising landscape. Here’s what’s new through Aug. 8:

Big buy: Last week’s big buy is more than $1.6 million for 911 spots in October by Making Colorado Great. The spots are almost certainly aimed at attacking GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and supporting incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. The group’s filing agent is Julie Wells, who typically represents Democratic 527s and independent expenditure committees. Making Colorado Great is a 527 that didn’t register with the Colorado Secretary of State until July 28, so it won’t report its contributors until Sept. 1.

The U.S. Senate race: This is the big ticket item in Colorado, with almost $25 million in ads devoted to the matchup between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. Udall’s campaign has bought almost $3.6 million in advertising, while Gardner’s is in for almost $3.1 million. But outside spending is the big ticket here. The Senate Majority PAC and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have contracts for $9.8 million in ads, while the National Republican Senatorial Committee has $1.8 million scheduled. Other outside groups opposing Udall have contracts for $4.9 million, while non-party affiliated groups are spending about $1.7 million to oppose Gardner.

The AG’s race: The Republican Attorneys General Association now has $1.8 million and 953 ad slots reserved for October, apparently to support Cynthia Coffman in the race for an open seat. Last week, the Committee for Justice and Fairness, which is linked to the Democratic Attorneys General Association, scheduled more than $323,000 in ads for October, presumably to support Democratic candidate Don Quick.

Oil & gas initiatives: Three groups had scheduled almost $4.3 million worth of advertising opposing and supporting initiatives aimed at regulating fracking. Those initiatives were withdrawn last week as part of a compromise brokered by Hickenlooper. But ad contract cancellations haven’t been filed with the FCC. Those ad buys are still in the analysis, but likely will be removed by next week.

Here’s a graphic look at how the 2014 ad spending shakes out through Aug. 8:

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