David Trone is spending a lot of money on TV ads. We know this. In the past, what was hard to know was just how much was he spending? Well, the broadcast TV stations, at least, are required by the FCC to post documents showing how much ad time was purchased by each candidate. What the stations do is post the contracts (and sometimes the invoices) showing what ad spots were purchased, how much each spot cost, and the total number of spots and the total dollars.
They’re not all that easy to find - but I, your intrepid reporter, have in fact found them. Let’s take a little peek, shall we?
The only two candidates that have bought air time on Channels 4, 5, 7 and 9 in 2016 are David Trone and Kathleen Matthews. Nobody in CD4 has purchased a minute of time as yet. Here’s a channel by channel list of the total amounts purchased by each candidate, arranges by station. The links for each channel are to the page for each candidate - individual contracts are clickable at the link. You’ll have to trust my math. I checked it twice.
WRC-4 Trone $696,250, Matthews $262,550
WTTG Fox 5 Trone $290,950, Matthews $16,600
WJLA-7 Trone $325,850, Matthews $32,500
WUSA9 Trone $508,200, Matthews $14,500
TOTAL Trone $1,821,250, Matthews $326,150
None of these ad buys are for the distant future. Most of them have already happened, but there are a few that will be running in the next few days. None are for after March 1. None of this includes spending on national cable channels such as CNN or MSNBC, and none of it includes any digital ads. Or direct mail.
Trone has spent more on local broadcast ads than either Matthews or Jamie Raskin has raised in almost a year. How crazy is his spending? This crazy. He spent $200,000 on ads during the Super Bowl alone. Look:
For the record, the highest amount of self-funding in a House race - ever - was $5 million. It’s estimates that Trone has already spent a good bit over half that. In three weeks. There’s still a looooong way to April 26. Buckle up.