With the election still about a year away, some of the first TV ads for the 2016 election are running on stations across Colorado supporting Democrat Michael Bennet's Senate re-election campaign.
By next Tuesday more than 400 spots will have run in Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo, according to CPR News' review of public inspection files from more than two dozen TV stations.
Bennet can thank a left-leaning group called Center Forward for the supportive ads. The group paid at least* $181,885 to run the spots from Nov. 3 to Nov. 17. Center Forward touts itself as a centrist organization, supporting moderate candidates from both sides of the aisle. But 96 percent of its money has targeted Republicans and bolstered Democrats since 2012, according to The Center For Responsive Politics. The chairman of Center Forward is former congressman Robert “Bud” Cramer a Democrat from Alabama. As a 501C non-profit, the group doesn't have to disclose its donors.
A request for comment from Center Forward has not been returned.
The conservative Americans for Prosperity says it's running online ads, like this one, attacking Bennet, but it's difficult to track online spending by outside groups. And Advancing Colorado ran this provocative TV ad in September to pressure Bennet on his Iran nuclear vote.
*One TV station has yet to post its contract with Center Forward.