Democrats spent more money than Republicans on advertisements in several key states ahead of Tuesday’s high-profile elections where conservatives saw disappointing results, according to the media research firm AdImpact.
Democratic ad spending dwarfed Republican expenditures by millions in a number of key states, with gaps exceeding $10 million in Kentucky and Virginia, according to AdImpact. Republicans lost state legislature seats in New Jersey and Virginia, were defeated in a race for a seat on the Pennsylvanian Supreme Court, failed to retake the governor’s mansion in Kentucky and were unsuccessful in preventing the right to abortion from being enshrined in Ohio’s constitution.
The largest gap in ad spending was in Kentucky, where Democrats spent $48 million and Republicans only spent $29.4 million, according to AdImpact. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear defeated Daniel Cameron, the state’s Republican attorney general, by a margin of 5% with an estimated 98% of votes counted as of writing, according to the Associated Press estimate.
An Emerson College poll released four days before the election had Beshear and Cameron tied with each pulling 47% of the vote.
A pro-abortion ballot measure in Ohio passed by a margin of 56.6% to 43.4% in a state that former President Donald Trump won by 8% in 2020. Pro-choice groups spent $24.4 million on messaging in favor of the initiative, compared to just $16.3 million spent by pro-life groups, according to AdImpact.
Virginia Republicans lost control of the state House and failed to take the state Senate during Tuesday’s elections, NPR reported. Democrats spent $35.3 million on advertisements ahead of the election, compared to the $27.6 million Republicans spent, according to AdImpact.
Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin raised $7.45 million through the Spirit of Virginia PAC in the third quarter of 2023, breaking fundraising records for an effort that was supposed to help Republicans win control of the Virginia state legislature.
Daniel McCaffery, a Democrat, defeated the Republican-backed Carolyn Carluccio in an election for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, netting 53.1% of the votes to her 46.9% at the time of writing, according to The New York Times.
Groups supporting the Democrat spent $10 million on ads, whereas Carluccio supporters only bought $6.5 million in ads, according to AdImpact.
In New Jersey’s legislative elections, where Democrats outspent Republicans on advertisements $8.7 million to $2.05 million per AdImpact, Democrats reversed some of the losses they saw in 2021, Politico reported. Democrats currently lead or have won every competitive seat in the state.
The only race analyzed by AdImpact where Republicans spent more on advertising than Democrats was the Mississippi gubernatorial race, with Republicans spending $9.7 million and Democrats spending about $1 million less.
Mississippi’s gubernatorial election was also one of the few key races where Republicans were victorious on Tuesday, with incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves capturing 51.6% of the vote and besting his Democratic challenger.
“No doubt they’re disappointing and ominous for the GOP, but the results last night are not reason for panic,” Jim Geraghty, a political commentator, wrote for National Review. “The elections in the year before the presidential election are a little odd—much lower turnout, governors’ races in a trio of Southern states with their own quirky histories and dynamics, and intense waves of advertising in state legislative races that usually fly under the radar.”
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