Overall, we saw a total of $7.72M spent in this district in the two short months that these advertisers were active. Troy Balderson and his allies spent a grand total of $4.56M, with a majority of that money coming from the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF). Danny O’Connor and his supporters spent $3.16M, with 83% of that money coming directly from the O’Connor Campaign.
Over the course of the election, our software captured a total of 10,841 broadcast spots aired amongst the eight advertisers in the race. Of those spots, 62% supported Troy Balderson. The candidates themselves kept it relatively positive throughout the race and neither candidate aired a direct attack ad, leaving that task to the issue groups. Whether it was positive, negative, or contrast, we saw a wide variety of topics discussed in these ads throughout the election, with the most popular being Medicare, healthcare, and Nancy Pelosi.
When we took a closer look at those 10,841 spots, we saw a significant and surprising difference in what each candidate paid for a broadcast spot. O’Conner paid a significant premium over Balderson, both on average and at the daypart level. In fact, our analysis found that over the months of June and July, O’Conner paid nearly the same rates as the Republican issue groups.
As the candidate spending more money, it would be entirely possible that O’Connor was booking substantially different schedules to account for the difference. We instead found that, rather than simply spending more heavily on more expensive programs, O’Conner paid the same premium across all day-parts – and even for the very same programming.
O’Connor paid virtually the same price as the Congressional Leadership Fund for spots aired during Late News, ranging from 150-250% that of the rates that Balderson paid. The same holds true for Primetime.
On the average weekday, O’Connor paid nearly $1,200 more than Balderson per Primetime spot. While he did pay less than CLF on average, there is no doubt that his campaign substantially overpaid on a number of occasions. To highlight one example, O’Connor paid $4,000 for a July 2 Undercover Boss spot, while CLF paid only $2,000 for the very same program.