Candidates Have Spent A Record $13 Million On Ads This Year. What Are They Saying?

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Photo: Colorado Governor Debate | Manual HS - AP
Colorado Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, right, makes a point during a governor candidate debate sponsored by Never Again Colorado at Manual High School Saturday, May 19, 2018, in Denver.

Feel like your television, mailbox and phone are getting slammed with political commercial spots, mailers and robocalls? You're not wrong.

The increase in primary election advertisements corresponds to a record number of candidates and campaign funds in the Colorado governor's race. Candidates have spent $25 million on their campaigns, and Coloradans will have seen $13 million worth of TV ads by the end of this election cycle. It would take 24 days of consecutive viewing to watch all those 30-second commercials.

Sandra Fish, a data journalist specializing in politics, talks to Colorado Matters about this record level of political advertising. She runs a site called Follow the Message where she collects and analyzes political mailers, TV ads and more.

It doesn't hurt that two would-be governors, Democrat Rep. Jared Polis and Republican businessman Victor Mitchell, are multimillionaires using those funds to finance their own campaigns. In fact, their spending on TV ads accounts for 57 percent of that of all governor's candidates.

Republicans have mainly focused on tax cuts and immigration issues, while Democrats hone in on education, their experience and occasionally bashing President Donald Trump. As the primary election day nears, campaigning has gotten more negative. A super PAC called Teachers for Kennedy started airing ads casting Mike Johnston and Polis in a negative light. Meanwhile, Victor Mitchell and Walker Stapleton have started squabbling, accusing the other of being elitist or liberal.

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne is the only Democrat without super PAC support, while on the Republican side Victor Mitchell and Greg Lopez are also going without.