Political ad spending for the Georgia special elections has surpassed $450 million in what is becoming an increasingly national race.
Republican candidates David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler square off against their Democratic opponents Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock Jan. 5 in two statewide races that will determine Senate control. President-elect Joe Biden emphasized the national importance of the race at a Dec. 15 rally.
“We can get so much done and we need Senators who are willing to do it.” Biden said. “So let me hear you, are you ready to vote for the two senators that are doers and not roadblocks? Are we ready to vote for two senators who will fight for progress, and not just in the way of progress?”
Advertising analytics firm AdImpact’s Vice-president John Link wrote on twitter Dec. 17 that total ad spending, including cash from campaigns and outside sources, reached roughly $453 million. Link previously told FOX Business that the firm estimates upwards of $500 million in total ad spending for the runoff.
Fundraising data from AdImpact shows outside spending on Republican ads at $86 million, which tops outside spending for Democrats by $56 million, Politico reported Sunday. But Democrats so far have a big advantage on television. Ossoff and Warnock combined have spent or reserved $160 million. Meanwhile, Perdue and Loeffler’s total spent or reserved for TV ads sits at nearly $92 million, Politico reported.
Both parties’ ad campaigns are largely negative, the New York Times (NYT) reported. Republican ads have targeted perceived socialist agendas of the Democratic candidates by repeating key sticking point initiatives like “defund the police. Democrat’s negative ads have concentrated on Perdue and Loeffler’s stock moves at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic — roughly 70% of Ossoff’s ads have been geared toward the pandemic, NYT reported.
The ad wars in Georgia’s two Senate races, which have soared past the $450 million mark and saturated the airwaves at previously unheard-of levels, reflect the stakes of one of the most unusual special elections in American history. https://t.co/ziCP811Ddn
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 20, 2020
In the seven day stretch ending Dec. 20 campaigns and outside groups aired 88 ads in Georgia worth over $50 million, according to NYT. Some December evenings between 5pm and 6pm, 60% of all TV ads targeted the special election.
Ken Goldstein, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco compared the ad blitz to the battlefield. Goldstein told the Times it is like “shelling impenetrable bases.”
“It’s like World War I, when they would sit there in the trenches and they would shell each other for weeks, but then nothing would happen because everyone was in trenches and bunkers,” Goldstein said.
But the fate of the Senate could justify the strategy, Goldstein told the Times.
“The stakes are so high and the margins are so tight that even a really inefficient strategy makes sense for people who are trying to control the United States Senate,” Goldstein concluded.
More than 1.4 million Georgia residents have already cast their ballots, according to voter tracking website Georgia Votes.