Television Ad Spending in the Twin Cities

by Tom Scheck and Betsy Cole, Minnesota Public Radio

TOTAL SPENT: $49,237,383

Candidates, special interest groups and political parties spend millions of dollars trying to influence who you'll vote for on election day. One of the best, and most expensive, ways to do that is through TV advertising. MPR News took a look at how much the candidates have spent on TV advertising in the Twin Cities.

We looked at records at KARE, KSTP, WCCO, FOX9, WFTC and Comcast Cable Network. We found that the candidates for president, Senate, and Congress, and outside groups, have already eclipsed the $45 million mark in ad spending and the number will continue to climb as election day draws closer.

You can browse deep into the data to see who is buying ads, what times of the day they are running, and which stations are getting the money.

The results give a glimpse as to who the ad buyers are targeting. For example, running commercials during Monday Night Football means a campaign is targeting men. Running ads during the Oprah Winfrey show means they're targeting women.

The ad buys can also signal whether a candidate is running out of money, whether a political committee is losing faith in a candidate or if there's greater hope that a candidate could win. It's common to see the data change daily. Contracts are canceled, new spenders enter a race or additional commercials are purchased. The data covers the period from Jan. 1 through the week ending Oct. 31. We intend to update the site regularly to reflect any changes.

Our aim with this project is to give the public a glimpse into how much money is spent on ads, which candidate or group is running the most ads and which stations are benefiting from the spending.

Top Spenders

Buyer Amount
Norm Coleman $6,656,574
Al Franken $5,512,943
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee $5,141,845
National Republican Senatorial Committee $4,204,112
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $4,088,642
See all buyers

Most Expensive Races

Race Amount
Senate $27,704,525
Congress - 3rd District $7,871,588
President $7,153,386
Congress - 6th District $3,915,665
Arts & Outdoors Amendment $977,475
See all races

Who's Buying?

Type Amount
Candidate $25,965,986
Political Committee $14,675,635
Independent Expenditure $8,595,762
May 2009
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