2016 Political Advertising In Colorado Lags Past Years

October 17, 2016
Photo: Michael Bennet, Darryl Glenn 2-shot CPR Studios Oct. 14, 2016 (HV)(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Darryl Glenn.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is finally getting a challenge on the TV airwaves this election season.

Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn scheduled about $300,000 in ads starting last week. A federal super PAC, Restoration PAC, is airing about $350,000 in ads during the next week attacking Bennet and supporting Glenn.

Although Glenn is airing his first TV ads, Bennet is spending $8.7 million on ads. Those commercials began in April and last through Election Day.

Glenn’s campaign announced last week that he raised $2.8 million from July through September, with $1.9 million to spend. Bennet’s camp said that campaign raised $2.2 million with $3.6 million yet to spend.

And, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump dropped ads in Grand Junction last week, but added more ad contracts in Denver and Colorado Springs.

Overall, however, Colorado’s 2016 ad spending on traditional, cable and satellite TV is far less than in past election years. So far this year, political ad spending is about $69 million. In 2014, political advertising in the state topped $105 million, without cable or satellite ads in the calculations. In 2012, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney spent $16 million on ads just in Denver.

This year, the two presidential candidates are poised to spend about $6 million, based on an analysis of contracts filed by TV and cable stations with the Federal Communications Commission.

The decline in political advertising in Colorado this year is part of a national trend, said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which analyzes such ads.