Throughout the 2018 election cycle we will be providing weekly analysis of the latest trends in political media spending. Delta, our proprietary political spending database, is the fastest and most accurate in the business. This allows our competitive team to provide the most timely and accurate information, giving you actionable intelligence before anyone else. These reports will highlight the most interesting races and trends of the cycle, highlighting information you need to know. Rather than get bogged down in the weeds, we will focus on one notable trend for each of the Senate, Governor, and House races.
Will IL CD-03 Have a Newman?
The Democratic primary for Illinois’ third congressional district has seen over $1.3M in spending, with Incumbent Dan Lipinski being challenged hard from the left by Marie Newman. Lipinski has been in the suburban Chicago seat since 2005, running unopposed in 2016. However, his pro-life and perceived anti-LGBT stances have drawn the ire of many on the left. Newman has spent $229k of her campaign funds on broadcast and cable, while receiving the aid of progressive groups in the form of over $420k in supportive advertising. Lipinski, a proficient fundraiser, has spent $294k, with an additional $373k being spent on his behalf by “United for Progress.” Lipinski has aired one ad on broadcast, attacking Newman and her backers as “Washington Special Interests” and touting his record in fighting President Trump. A new poll shows Lipinski up only 2 points against Newman, with 15% of voters undecided. A Newman victory might embolden further Democratic primary challenges from the left, similar to the Tea Party primaries seen in 2010.
Sunshine State Spends Big
Despite its August 28th primary date, the primaries for the Florida Governor’s race have already begun to heat up. Despite major contenders on both the Democratic (Gwen Graham) and Republican (Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis) sides not having yet begun to spend on traditional media, spending totals have already reached $8.5M for the primary, with an additional $7.4M pre-booked from September-Election Day by the Republican Governors Association. Philip Levine, a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, has spent $5.6M between his PAC, All About Florida, and his campaign. On the GOP side, Watchdog PAC, associated with the still undeclared Richard Corcoran, has spent $2.9M. Given the level of spending we have already seen we expect this race to be one of the most expensive primaries in the country when the rest of the frontrunners join the campaign.
Show Me the Money
Missouri is much like Indiana in that a Democratic Senator is up for reelection in an increasingly red state. This vulnerability has been reflected in the level of outside spending that Missouri has received thus far in the cycle. It trails only Wisconsin amongst Senate races with $4.9M spent by outside groups. GOP groups have hit Senator McCaskill for months over immigration and her opposition to the tax reform bill. Democratic groups such as Majority Forward and Senate Majority PAC have hit back by touting her credentials as a defender of the middle class and attacking presumptive challenger Josh Hawley for alleged campaign finance improprieties. We expect this proxy war to only escalate as the general election grows closer.