News Column

Record $9 Million Spent on Spanish-language TV Campaign Ads

October 29, 2002

Adam Segal

WASHINGTON - Spanish-language campaign broadcast television advertising continues to break records in 2002. More than $9 million has been spent by gubernatorial, Senate, and House candidates on nearly 14,000 Spanish-language television spots, setting a nationwide record for non-presidential election years and numerous statewide records, according to a report released today. An additional $2 million has been spent on advertising in down-ballot races and ballot initiatives.

"Efforts to reach Hispanic American voters through Spanish-language campaign broadcast television advertising have broken numerous statewide and national records in competitive races in six states this year," said Adam Segal, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC and editor of the Johns Hopkins Journal of American Politics who authored the report. "Candidates nationwide are promising accelerated spending on Spanish-language television and radio ads in the final days of the campaign."

Segal's report was developed through interviews and data obtained in conjunction with the Wisconsin Advertising Project, a project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG).

CMAG monitors all political and issue advertising in the nation's top 100 media markets, including Spanish-language stations - covering 85 percent of the country's population - and providing cost estimates and information on the content, volume and targeting of media buys. CMAG does not monitor most advertising placed on local cable systems or local broadcast stations outside of the nation's 100 largest media markets. Spanish-language ads aired on these stations and local cable systems may not be included in this data. The latest data runs through October 24.

NEW YORK - PAYCHECKS IN SPANISH?
New York Independent gubernatorial candidate and Paychex founder Tom Golisano has spent more than $1.6 million on two Spanish-language television advertisements in the last three weeks. This quickly surpassed spending by Democratic State Comptroller Carl McCall ($88,000 in the last three weeks, $1 million ytd) and Republican Governor George Pataki ($72,000 in the last three weeks, $720,000 ytd).

"In just three weeks Tom Golisano outspent both of his opponents in Spanish-language television advertising in the New York Governor's race," said Segal. "This rapid spending even outpaces the level of Spanish-language commercials aired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to win his race in 2001. Meanwhile, spending by the two leading candidates in the race continues to grow. The $3.5 million mark surpassed by all three candidates on Spanish-language television stations sets a new record for political spending on New York City Hispanic television."

"Spanish-language political television advertising has become a permanent and effective part of New York campaign strategies," said Segal. "As the state's Hispanic community continues to rise at a rapid pace we can expect that resources devoted to communications efforts aimed at Hispanic voters will continue to multiply."

FLORIDA - GOVERNOR CONTINUES BARRAGE
Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the state Republican Party continue to spend more than $150,000 per week on Spanish-language television advertisements. Spending has been steady during the past month. His Democratic opponent, lawyer and political novice Bill McBride has begun airing Spanish-language television ads as a part of his strategy to pull off a last-minute upset. Bush and his Party have now spent more than $1.4 million this year ($530,000 in the last three weeks) on hundreds of Spanish-language television ads in central and south Florida.

"With polls showing Bush's opponent closing in on him it will be interesting to see what influence his continued Spanish-language television barrage has as the campaign enters the final weeks," said Segal. "However, Bush's lead among Hispanics in recent polls may cause the McBride campaign to focus limited funds in the final stretch on other efforts."

CALIFORNIA - ONE-SIDED BARRAGE
California Governor Gray Davis continues unprecedented spending on Spanish-language television stations statewide. Davis has spent nearly $1.2 million on Spanish-language broadcast television ads in the state this year. He has spent $420,000 in the last three weeks, confirming the campaign's promise to run $150,000 in ads per week. His opponent, businessman Bill Simon, has not aired any Spanish-language broadcast television ads all month, though he spent almost $140,000 this year.

TEXAS - NEW ADS!
In Texas, Governor Rick Perry outspent millionaire Hispanic businessman and Democratic challenger Tony Sanchez on Spanish-language television ads during the past three weeks ($310,000 to $265,000). To date, Sanchez has spent $1.5 million to Perry's $690,000. Sanchez has created at least 11 unique Spanish-language television commercials and 13 Spanish-language radio spots.

The Texas Democratic Party has begun airing a series of Spanish-language television ads in the state on behalf of its Senate candidate, Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor. In the last three weeks the Party spent $140,000 on behalf of Kirk on Spanish-language television stations in the state's largest media markets. Kirk's opponent, Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, has aired less than $10,000 in Spanish-language broadcast television advertisements in the state's top media markets.

NEW MEXICO - STEADY SPENDING
Former Energy Secretary and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, has spent $27,000 in the last three weeks on Spanish-language broadcast television ads and $110,000 so far this year. His opponent, Republican State Representative John Sanchez, who is also Hispanic, still has not aired any Spanish-language spots on broadcast television.

Republican incumbent Senator Pete Domenici (NM) has spent $145,000 on hundreds of Spanish-language spots broadcast in Albuquerque this year ($33,000 in the last three weeks). His campaign told Roll Call newspaper last week that they will spend $450,000 by Election Day. His opponent, Puerto Rican-born former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Gloria Tristani, aired $56,000 in ads in Albuquerque early in the campaign, but has not aired any Spanish-language television ads since late September.

COLORADO - TIGHT RACE, MORE SPENDING
In the Colorado Senate race, current Republican Senator Wayne Allard continues to invest in Spanish-language television advertisements. Allard has spent more than $32,000 in the last three weeks and more than $71,000 this year on Spanish-language advertising. His Democratic challenger, ex-US Attorney Tom Strickland, has joined the campaign to reach Colorado's Hispanic voters on television, with the state's Democratic Party investing more than $25,000 in Spanish-language ads on his behalf in the last three weeks.

Governor Bill Owens has spent more than $25,000 on Spanish-language television ads to date. Owens' Democratic opponent, businessman Rollie Heath, still has not aired Spanish-language television spots.

"While spending in the Colorado Senate campaign on Spanish-language broadcast television advertisements appears to be small compared to spending in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles, the spending is noteworthy and precedent-setting," Segal said. "In an extremely close election both candidates are demonstrating they understand that the state's rapidly growing number of Hispanic voters can make the difference on Election Day."

ILLINOIS - BACK IN THE ACT
Democratic Congressman Rod Blagojevich is back running Spanish-language ads, a staple of his primary victory in his campaign for Governor. Blagojevich has aired $20,000 in ads in the last week bringing his year-to-date total to almost $160,000 in Spanish-language television ads. His opponent, Illinois Republican Attorney General Jim Ryan has not aired Spanish-language broadcast television ads this year.

HOUSE RACES - NEW SPENDING
House candidates are finally joining their colleagues on the airwaves by airing Spanish-language television ads this year in a handful of the nation's top 100 media markets according to the report.

All Spanish-language ads by Republican House candidates in the top 100 markets are being underwritten by the Republican Party.

In New Mexico, Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson ($54,000 ytd), Democratic State Senator John Arthur Smith ($22,000 ytd), and Republican State Rep. Steve Pearce ($40,000 ytd) are all airing Spanish-language broadcast television ads. In Texas Republican Businessman Ramsey Farley has aired Spanish-language ads ($38,000 ytd) in his bid to unseat Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards.

Data outside of the top media 100 markets for this report were limited, but Segal confirmed Spanish-language ads running in a number of other House races.

Democrat Henry Cuellar, currently Texas Secretary of State, is airing thousands of dollars in Spanish-language television ads in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla. According to Cuellar's campaign more than $75,000 has been spent on Spanish-language television ads, accounting for 40 percent of their television ad buys. Both candidates are Hispanic and the district is 67 percent Hispanic.

In California, Republican Andre Minuth, a physician, has spent $20,000 on Spanish-language ads in his campaign again Congressman Cal Dooley.

Democrats running for the House have also been airing Spanish-language television ads.

Texas Democratic Congressman Martin Frost has bought $50,000 worth of ads on Spanish-language stations reaching into his district. Arizona Democratic Congressional candidate and County Board of Supervisors member Raul Grijalva ($3,000) and Florida State Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart ($75,000) aired primary ads in Spanish.



Source: WC Journal


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