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Hocul vs. Collins: Nearly $4 Million Spent on 7,800 Commercials

Kathy Hochul and Chris Collins will spend more than $4 million on television advertising this campaign season.

An Investigative Post analysis of spending in TV ads for the 27th District race, based on contracts on file with major network affiliates in Buffalo and Rochester, found that Collins has outspent Hochul $2.2 million to $1.7 million, thanks in large part to the support of political action committees.

According to records on file with television stations, PACs have spent $1,581,220 on ads on Collins’s behalf, while the candidate’s campaign committee has purchased $633,360 in spots.

It’s a different story for Hochul, whose campaign has spent $1,122,088 on TV spots, vs. $599,850 by PACs.

Add it all up and GOP-leaning PACs in support of Collins are outspending Democratic PACs backing Hochul by 2.5 to 1.

So far this campaign, contracts have been signed to air more than 4,400 spots in the Buffalo market—with more on the way—and more than 3,400 in Rochester. Total spots in the Buffalo market last year topped 5,500, when Hochul, Republican Jane Corwin, and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis ran for the seat vacated by Chris Lee. Hochul won the race in an upset in the Republican-leaning district.

All this is to say the airwaves in Buffalo have been saturated with nearly 10,000 spots in the past two years for one Congressional race.

To obtain the data for the analysis, Investigative Post used information from 353 television contracts placed through last Tuesday on behalf of Congressional candidates in the district last year and this year. The contracts are a matter of public record under Federal Communication Commission rules. The stations included WGRZ, WIVB, WKBW, and WUTV in Buffalo, and WROC, WHAM, WHEC, and WHUF in Rochester.

Election Asylum!

Scared and alone on Election Night? Get thee to Rust Belt Books (202 Allen Street) for Election Asylum!, an election results watching party hosted by Buffalo-based performers Ron Ehmke, Jeannine Giffear, Frank Goldberg, and Ruth Goldman. There will be a scavenger hunt (to find the lost soul of democracy), a massage therapist (to soothe tense nerves), Electoral College bingo, words of wisdom from the Founding Mothers, and a “Free Speech Zone” where audience members can speak their minds throughout the evening. The audience is asked to bring either a $5 donation or a dish (or a beverage) to share. A sense of humor is also advised. 8-11pm.

Here’s what the analysis found:

• Total spending in this year’s race stood at $3.9 million as of last Tuesday.

• The Corwin-Davis-Hochul race last year involved $4.9 million in television advertising in the Buffalo and Rochester markets. Corwin spent more on TV ads ($2,490,635) than Davis ($1,079,143) and Hochul (942,057) combined.

• Rochester was the television battleground a year ago, where six out of every 10 television dollars were spent. This year, nearly two-thirds has been spent in the Buffalo market. Spending between the two markets is close over two years, $4.5 million in Buffalo vs. $4.4 million in Rochester.

• Four PACs account for the lion’s share of PAC spending for Collins. They include the National Republican Congressional Committee ($491,880), the Congressional Leadership Fund ($462,800), the US Chamber of Commerce ($311,455), and the American Action Network ($298,845).

• The House Majority PAC ($570,560) accounts for the lion’s share PAC spending on Hochul’s behalf this year.

Crossroads Media—headed by Karl Rove, best known as the political mastermind behind former President George W. Bush—has purchased $729,550 in ads for the Collins campaign.

• The cost of ads, typically 30-second spots, range from about $200 to $2,000. Commercials aired during Buffalo Bills games or in prime time cost the most.

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