- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Spending on TV advertising for Louisiana’s Oct. 24 election has reached nearly $9.4 million, with the governor’s race accounting for most of the money. But spending by candidates for attorney general and lieutenant governor are on the rise as the election nears.

Sixty-nine percent of the cash poured into TV ads so far has been spent trying to influence voters’ opinion on the four major contenders in the governor’s race, according to an analysis of ad spending by the Center for Public Integrity. The share of that spending by outside groups, largely running attack ads, has grown to nearly 38 percent.

Here’s a closer look at advertising spending, which accounts for TV ads through Monday:

LOUISIANA GOVERNOR

Of the nearly $6.5 million paid for TV advertising in the governor’s race, $4 million has been spent by the major candidates: Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter. That accounts for 62 percent of the TV spending in the race so far.



Another $2.4 million has been spent by political action committees that support or oppose specific candidates. Many of the PACs, which have no donation limits, are funded by a few high-spending donors.

Vitter and the super PAC supporting him, called the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, account for nearly half all the TV ad spending in the race, running $3 million in ads so far.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Spending on TV advertising in the lieutenant governor’s race has shot up to nearly $917,000. But the money has been spent only by two of four contenders for the job.

Republican John Young, president of Jefferson Parish, has aired $737,000 in TV spots. Spending by GOP candidate Billy Nungesser, former president of Plaquemines Parish, has topped $179,000, much of that spent in the past week as he ramped up his campaign presence on television.

Neither Democrat Kip Holden, mayor of Baton Rouge, nor Republican state Sen. Elbert Guillory has put in money into TV advertising for their campaigns so far, according to the data.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

TV ad spending in the attorney general’s race has nearly quadrupled over the last week, with the two main Republican rivals boosting their advertising as the election nears.

Incumbent Buddy Caldwell has spent $142,000 on TV spots, while former Congressman Jeff Landry has poured nearly $165,000 into his television advertising.

A third GOP candidate, Baton Rouge area lawyer Marty Maley, spent $79,000, but that was on ads that aired before last week. An outside group called the Public Integrity Alliance has paid $133,000 for a TV effort targeting Caldwell.

OTHER RACES

Outside groups account for all the TV advertising lodged in state education board races, more than $404,000 from organizations called Empower Louisiana and Stand for Children Louisiana, which advocate for positions usually opposed by traditional public school groups.

Still one of the biggest TV ad spenders among Louisiana candidates this election cycle is Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican with one opponent who has raised little money to compete. Kennedy shelled out more than $965,000 for an ad that ran in heavy rotation before Louisiana hit the thick of the campaign advertising season.

While the treasurer isn’t expected to have trouble winning re-election, he is expected to be eyeing a U.S. Senate bid if Vitter wins the governor’s race. The TV ad kept Kennedy’s name out among voters in case he jumps into another race soon.

THE DATA

The Center for Public Integrity analyzed data about political advertising on broadcast television from Kantar Media/CMAG, a media tracking firm that monitors 211 media markets around the country and offers a widely accepted estimate of the money spent to air each spot.

These figures cover ads aired between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 5, 2015, yet represent only part of the money spent on political advertising. They do not include ads for radio, online, direct mail or TV ads that aired on local cable systems. The estimates also do not include the cost of making the ads.

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