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 firstname.lastname@example.org.