Since July 1, Gov. Tom Corbett has spent more than $4 million on television ads, while his Democratic challenger Tom Wolf has spent nearly $1.7 million across Pennsylvania.
In total, both candidates have already aired nearly 10,000 TV spots and the election is still more than two months away.
The candidates continue to put a sizable percentage of their ad money into Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Corbett has spent almost $1.8 million in Philadelphia while Wolf has spent more than $650,000. Pittsburgh remained second with Corbett outspending Wolf $770,000 to $400,000.
The state’s two largest markets command higher ad rates because they reach more viewers.
Corbett has focused his campaign ads in Philadelphia and Scranton, airing more than 1,400 spots in each market. Wolf’s two top markets, with more than 600 spots aired, have been Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.
PublicSource has been tracking all the ads by both campaigns that have appeared on the four major networks (NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS) in Pennsylvania’s six TV markets. Nielsen, the television analytics company, estimates the state’s six TV markets include nearly six million homes with televisions this year.
A recent Federal Communications Commission rule change mandated that, beginning July 2014, every television station must report their political ad information online.
Corbett got a headstart on general election advertising by spending almost $1.7 million on ads in early July before Wolf had aired his first commercial. Since then, Corbett has only outspent Wolf by about $600,000.
Other than PublicSource’s reporting on political ads for the governor’s race, there is a partnership of groups tracking political ads in Philadelphia.
Volunteers from the Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia non-partisan government watchdog, have been entering Philadelphia political ad information as part of a partnership with The Internet Archive, a digital library, and The Sunlight Foundation, an open-government advocacy organization.
The Sunlight Foundation recently published a blog post that showed the Committee of Seventy has tracked more than $12 million in Philadelphia ad purchases since July 1. They are tracking advertising from state and federal candidates as well as ads from outside groups.
Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-315-0266 or at email@example.com.
This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.
James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.
It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?