After a record number of early voting ballots were received before the May 24 primary, the Georgia 2022 primary election is predicted to show one of the largest voter turnouts in the state’s history. After a heated 2020 election in Georgia, both sides of the aisle have a lot at stake in the 2022 midterms. Republicans are taking a commanding lead with early votes, submitting 3 out of every 5 early voting ballots, leaving an interesting opportunity to highlight a spending and advertising analysis on in this highly contested state primary. This is not surprising as the majority of the high-profile democratic candidates are running unopposed or against candidates with less notoriety.

In total, we saw over $99M in spending across all media types towards 2022 primary elections in Georgia. Democrats outspent Republicans $52.7M to $46.9M.

Two of the most expensive races were the Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial races. Since 1947, the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s position in Georgia have been occupied by democrats all but two times, both of these occurring in the past two political cycles.

The most expensive GA primary election was the gubernatorial race, with $35.6M in aggregated spending. In the Democratic primary, Stacey Abrams, former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, is running unopposed. Nevertheless, her campaign spent almost $8.3M across media types. The Republican primary has boiled down to five candidates, two of which we have seen spending from. Incumbent Brian Kemp (R) spent $5.9M across all media types, and former US Senator David Perdue (R) spent $1.3M across broadcast, cable, digital, and satellite. Candidate campaigns spent a total of $15.5M.

Spending and Advertising Analysis

The Atlanta market saw the most spending, recording $18.7M of the almost $36M. Other hot spots included Savannah ($3.1M), Macon ($2.4M), and Augusta ($1.8M). Democrats outspent Republicans in five markets and Republicans outspent Democrats in the other five markets.

Spending and Advertising Analysis

After defeating Abrams by a margin of just 1% in 2018, Kemp will be looking to extend his gubernatorial position for another four years, while Perdue has tried to utilize Trump’s endorsement as leverage to defeat the incumbent governor. Despite Trump’s continued support of Perdue, a recent survey shows Kemp leading Perdue 60% to 28%. We saw Perdue’s campaign stop booking flights after April 24, following the decline in polls.

Issue groups in total spent $20M between broadcast, cable, digital, radio, and satellite in the gubernatorial primary. Issue groups focused on the two main republican candidates, Kemp and Perdue. Groups supporting Kemp spent $6.3M, whereas PACs attacking him spent $6.88M. PACs supporting Perdue spent just over $4M. Issue Group Fair Fight Action aired four ads that attacked Kemp for his decisions regarding expanding Medicaid. RGA Georgia 2022 PAC spent over $5M on ads that supported incumbent Kemp and opposed Abrams for office.

Lieutenant Governor Spending and Advertising Analysis

The Georgia Lieutenant Governor’s race was the most expensive Lt. Governor primary in 2022 thus far, fielding $5.4M across broadcast, cable, radio, and digital media. We recorded spending from six candidates and one issue group. Republicans took the lead in spending, totaling $4.7M compared to democrats $705K.

The current Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan (R), announced in May 2021 that he would not seek reelection allowing advertisers to start airing ads as early as summer of 2021. Burt Jones (R) began spending in August 2021 and ended up dropping $2.5M during the primary cycle. His most frequently aired ad utilized his endorsement from Trump to highlight his conservative values. The leading democratic candidate, Charley Bailey, didn’t start airing ads until April 24, but totaled over half a million dollars in the past month. He aired just one distinct creative that focused on his progressive agenda and support for democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. One issue group, Bulldog Patriots PAC spent almost $300K on one distinct creative in support of Burt Jones.

Spending and Advertising Analysis

With competitive Republican primaries in both the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s races, voters will show whether Trump’s endorsements can win another primary. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the votes, there will be a runoff election scheduled for June 21. We will continue to monitor spending and advertising analysis towards any runoffs and the general election.

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