When Crossroads GPS announced last week it would spend $25 million on a wave of television advertisements slated to run over the next four weeks, the group's press release left one detail out of the mix – that its sister organization has begun placing its own $40 million advertising campaign for the final two months leading up to Election Day, an amount that dwarfs the summer blitz.
So far, American Crossroads has purchased more than $39.8 million in advertising across at least 10 states between Labor Day and Election Day. The inundation of advertising will come in states that are battlegrounds both in the White House race and the tussle over control of the U.S. Senate, according to sources watching the advertising market.
Between September 4 and November 5, American Crossroads has purchased more than $10 million in advertising in Florida; more than $7 million in Ohio; nearly as much in Virginia; more than $3 million in Colorado; $4 million in North Carolina; $3 million in Iowa; and more than $2 million each in New Hampshire and Nevada, the group will announce today.
Beyond the presidential figures, Crossroads GPS – the 501(c)(4) arm of American Crossroads, which does not have to disclose its donors – is spending $800,000 on advertising during the final two months before Election Day in North Dakota.
Most of the money looks geared toward the presidential contest. But there is ample evidence suggesting American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS are buying time to advertise in Senate contests. The groups use two separate vendors to purchase television time: One company also purchases advertising time for Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing presidential nominee Mitt Romney. To avoid improper coordination, buys that firm places are geared toward Senate contests instead of the presidential, according to sources in the advertising industry.
North Dakota is the most obvious example of an ad buy aimed at influencing a Senate race. The state is not competitive at the presidential level, but it does feature a tight race between Rep. Rick Berg (R) and former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D). The $800,000 ad buy runs from September through the first three weeks of October, according to two sources.
The sources believe advertising flights placed in Ohio and Florida will also go toward Republican efforts to win back the Senate. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both running ahead of their Republican challengers, but not by comfortable margins.
Crossroads has purchased another $74,000 for a week of advertising beginning July 27 in El Paso, Texas, a buy sources believe is aimed at the race for retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman's seat in New Mexico. Republican Strategist Karl Rove, one of Crossroads' founders, has long been a supporter of former Rep. Heather Wilson, the Republican nominee in New Mexico.
The new buys began landing on Friday, the same day Crossroads GPS announced a $25 million ad blitz over the course of this month hammering President Obama on the economy. Those ads begin tomorrow and will run through the first week of August.
To date, Crossroads GPS has already aired more than $22 million in advertisements aimed at the presidential election. The 501(c)(4) and the super PAC have also spent several million dollars on smaller ad flights targeting Democratic Senate candidates in Nebraska, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri and North Dakota.
Combined with the buys this month and for the fall, that means the group has already paid for more than $90 million in television advertising. That's nearly one-third of the $300 million Crossroads strategists have said they will raise between their two wings.