The Campaign Spot

Want to Win a Big Statewide Race? Don’t Get Outspent by $4 Million.

From my article on the state of the Virginia governor’s race, Wednesday: “If you lose the spending war on the airwaves, you’re likely to lose on Election Day.”

New data:

Since the government shutdown, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has outspent Republican Ken Cuccinelli 2-to-1 on the airwaves.

In the last two weeks, pro-McAuliffe groups have doubled Cuccinelli and his allies $2.2 million to $1.1 million, according to an analysis by SMG Delta, which tracks broadcast, cable, and radio advertising for Republican campaigns. “We have been on the air. We have not run out of money,” said a top Cuccinelli strategist, who acknowledged, “But this much is true — we are getting outspent 2-1.”

Overall, the McAuliffe campaign and pro-McAuliffe groups have outspent Cuccinelli and his allies $12.5 million to $8.4 million on the air since the beginning of the campaign, per SMG Delta.

Some of the blame for this is on Cuccinelli, who told me earlier this year that he had always been outspent in his previous successful state legislative and state attorney-general campaigns, and that he was confident he could overcome the same advantage this year. Clearly, that confidence was misplaced. Some is on his campaign, which needed to realize how McAuliffe was ready to turn the campaign into a spending race as early as May and adjust accordingly. Some of the fault lies with the GOP’s big-time donors. And some of the blame falls on the grassroots, who frequently complain that the Republican party doesn’t nominate sufficiently conservative nominees, but who have failed to pull out all the stops on an undeniably conservative candidate in a state Republicans swept by large margins four years ago.


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