More than 8,100 Senate campaign ads — 6,190 ads by the candidates and parties and 1,953 ads by groups interested in the race — had aired on television stations across Tennessee by August, according to an analysis by the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.
further from Michael Collins:
The cost: $3.4 million, or 72 cents for every eligible voter in the state.
“That’s a lot of ads,” especially for a seat considered relatively safe for the incumbent, said Anthony Nownes, a political scientist at the University of Tennessee.
Republican incumbent Lamar Alexander, who won the GOP primary on Aug. 7 and will go on to run for a third term in November, outspent all of his rivals on TV commercials. Alexander aired 3,736 campaign spots at a cost of $1.7 million.
The second-place finisher in the GOP race, state Rep. Joe Carr, spent just $413,210 on 950 ads. Memphis radiologist George Flinn, who came in a distant third, paid $81,720 for 129 campaign spots.
Two interest groups allied with Republican candidates also bought campaign ads. Citizens for Ethics in Government, which ran ads attacking Alexander, spent $502,610 on 1,598 commercials, while Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, which ran ads supporting Alexander, bought 355 spots at a cost of $187,570.
All told, Republican Senate candidates and their allies spent $2.9 million on 6,768 ads.
…In the Senate Democratic primary, Knoxville attorney Gordon Ball was the top spender. Ball, who won the Democratic nomination and will face Alexander in November, paid $484,030 for 1,315 TV spots. Knoxville attorney Terry Adams, who placed second in the primary, spent just $38,130 on 60 TV ads.
Despite the slew of campaign ads in Tennessee, the state didn’t come close to matching the volume of TV ads seen in other states with competitive races. Of the 27 states with Senate races that involved high levels of spending on TV advertising, Tennessee came in 12th.
The state with the most ads and spending was Georgia, where Republican incumbent Saxy Chambliss’ retirement has given Democrats what may be their best shot at capturing a GOP-held seat. Candidates, parties and groups aired at least 36,100 TV ads in the Georgia race. The price tag: $22.5 million, or $3.31 for every eligible voter.