August 16, 2022
With the January 6th hearings still ongoing as election grinds on, Liz Cheney’s seat has become a hot topic for Republicans. Her strong anti-Trump rhetoric has put her in the middle of the discussions about Trump’s future involvement in the Republican Party. While Wyoming’s congressional seat rarely gets much attention, this primary has been important to Republicans. So far, advertisers have spent $5.3M ahead of today’s Primary. The in such a Republican primary will likely decide who ends up taking the seat come November.
Cheney’s opponent, Harriet Hageman, has become a more significant threat as time has gone by. She got an early endorsement by Trump in September of last year, which consolidated the primary field to a showdown with Cheney. Even before most of the ad spending began, Hageman held a significant lead in polls. According to a survey by Club for Growth PAC, Hageman was up 30 points in the end of May. Now as both campaign’s advertising efforts are in full swing, Hageman has solidified her lead in the polls, as she now holds a 29 point lead over Cheney in the August 11th University of Wyoming poll.
Cheney’s campaign has attempted to mitigate those shortcomings in the polls by spending significantly more than Hageman. She has spent $2.2M on the primary, compared to $1.1M spent by Hageman. Cheney has faced high opposition spending by Issue Groups. Most of the ads against her attack Cheney for aligning with Democrats or no longer holding up conservative values. Here is how the advertising landscape looks going into election day:
Wyoming Values has been the highest spending issue group, spending $920K across four media types. Wyoming Values has also been the only issue group to spend on more than two media types. The next highest spending issue groups, Club for Growth Action and Americans Keeping Country First, have spent the entirety of their money on broadcast ads.
Even though Cheney’s campaign has a significant advantage in ad spending over the Hageman campaign, spending ends up being even when looking at the totals per target. Across all advertisers, there has been $2.6M spent in ads that favor Cheney as the Republican candidate for Wyoming’s at-large congressional district. There has been $2.5M spent on ads that favor Hageman as the Republican candidate. Despite Cheney’s best efforts, consumers in the Wyoming markets have seen an even split of ad content for both sides.
There not an even split when comparing how Cheney and Hageman have distributed their funds across media types. By looking at overall numbers, one may guess that Cheney has a spending advantage across all media types because she has spent double that of Hageman. By analyzing the distribution of spending by media type, that is not the case.
Surprisingly, Hageman has outspent Cheney on television ads, as she holds an 107K spending advantage across broadcast and cable. The bulk of Hageman’s ads are about Cheney’s need for the spotlight and how she no longer represents Wyoming. Of course, Cheney makes up for the broadcast disadvantage with the other three media types. She has spent much more on digital and radio ads.
While it might not be enough, it will be interesting to see if the amount of money spent on advertising makes a difference for Cheney compared to what the polls are suggesting. Everything is pointing to Hageman being the Republican nominee for the November general election, but nothing is certain in this political environment.