- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Positive messages about Gov. John Kasich have dominated the more than 12,000 state-level political ads aired on national network and cable stations in Ohio so far this election cycle, an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity has found.

Until last week, not a single ad had run in Ohio’s downticket races for attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.

Relying on broadcast data gathered by Kantar Media/CMAG, the center reported Wednesday that some 6,400 pro-Kasich ads have aired since last year, including an estimated $2.7 million in advertising purchased by Kasich’s campaign and $780,000 bought by the Republican Governors Association. Ads began airing before the spring primary.

The Republican governor’s group also spent $1.4 million on roughly 3,400 negative spots against Kasich’s opponent, Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald - making Ohio its second heaviest investment nationally after Michigan, the study showed.

The FitzGerald campaign has aired about 1,800 ads presenting mostly positive information on FitzGerald, while two additional outside groups - the pro-abortion rights group Planned Parenthood and the small business advocacy group Pay Us Back OH - have aired a combined 300 Kasich attack ads.

The estimated $5.9 million spent in Ohio media markets through Sept. 8 ranked the state 13th nationally, the analysis found. Spending is down more than $2 million from the same point in 2010, when Kasich was making his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in one of the country’s most high-profile gubernatorial contests, center data show.

This time around, things are different.

Although almost all the cycle’s television spending so far has come in the governor’s race, the faceoff has recently become so uncompetitive that FitzGerald has diverted many of his campaign resources to overall Democratic turnout efforts and even the expected debates between the candidates have fizzled.

The rest of the money was spent on ads in four Ohio House primaries, including an expensive contest in Warren.

The center plans to update its state-level TV spending data weekly throughout the fall.

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Online:

http://www.publicintegrity.org/who-calls-shots/ohio

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Follow Julie Carr Smyth at http://www.twitter.com/jcarrsmyth

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