Donald Trump’s campaign is spending nearly $600,000 on political TV ads this week, part of the Republican candidate’s first foray into general election TV advertising focused on swing states including Colorado.
The ads began Saturday and air through Thursday on stations in Denver, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs.
That’s based on an analysis of contracts filed with the Federal Communications Commission through Friday. It’s possible Trump’s spending is higher if some stations have yet to file contracts.
But Trump’s ad buys thus far are a drop in the bucket in the state’s nearly $59 million political ad market.
Super PAC Priorities USA still leads the state with $11 million worth of ads attacking Trump from June through Election Day. Priorities recently cut its campaign by about $500,000.
And Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton spent $2.3 million in the state in June and July, with a total of $3.2 million for the primary and general election.
Trump isn’t the only presidential candidate on the air in Colorado. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson is spending about $8,000 on ads in Grand Junction this month.
Here’s a look at where political TV advertising stands through last Friday, including cable and satellite TV. Only amounts more than $10,000 are included:
Already Coloradans have been subject to nearly $20 million in advertising that would take at least 33 days to watch in succession.
Another $39 million worth of ads that would consume 32 full days are still scheduled to run by Nov. 8. That could increase if Trump and Clinton continue to buy time.
Many of those ads scheduled for the next two months will address Colorado ballot initiatives. That includes ads opposing Amendment 69 to create a statewide health care program, opposing an effort to increase the minimum wage, supporting an effort to make it harder to amend the Constitution and on both sides of an initiative to allow medical assistance for terminally ill patients to end their lives.
But about $4 million of that reserved time could be eliminated. Protecting Colorado is waiting to see if advocates for two failed oil and gas regulation initiatives will appeal a the decision disqualifying petition signatures before canceling the fall ads.
Meanwhile, two Colorado political action committees reserved $700,000 worth of advertising through Comcast Spotlight to support three Republicans state Senate seats in suburban Denver and to attack their Democratic opponents.
The Senate Majority Fund is airing $200,000 in cable and satellite ads from late August through Sept. 13 supporting Sen. Laura Woods in Senate District 19; Rep. Kevin Priola, who is running for an open seat in Senate District 25; and Nancy Doty, running for an open seat in Senate District 26.
Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government scheduled $500,000 in cable advertising to attack Democratic candidates: former Sen. Renee Zenzinger in Senate District 19, Rep. Daniel Kagan in Senate District 26 and former Rep. Jenise May in Senate District 25. Those ads are scheduled to begin Sept. 14 and run through Nov. 7.
Cable and satellite advertising can be targeted to narrower geographic regions than traditional TV. It is also less expensive than traditional TV advertising.
In Grand Junction, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reserved nearly $260,000 in air time to defend incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.
Bennet has spent or scheduled more than $8.7 million in ad time, while his Republican opponent, Darryl Glenn, has yet to schedule ad time.
And the House Majority PAC reserved $38,000 at Grand Junction stations for ads during the two weeks before the election, presumably to support former state Sen. Gail Schwartz’s bid to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton.