Super PAC backing Obama pouring more money into Denver TV ads than Romney's

Categories: Politics

priorities usa action video.jpg
Editor's note: This election cycle, Westword is exploring the public records of television stations for information on how candidates are spending money on ads in Denver.

In Denver, the Obama campaign is spending a lot more money on TV ads than is Romney's. After digging through more public records, it's obvious that this trend holds true for the super PACs backing the two presidential candidates -- which is why Donnie, the star of a Romney-bashing ad, is getting so much local airtime.

Super PACS are the controversial independent political fundraising committees that technically don't "coordinate" with the candidates they are backing. Yet they're shaping up to be key players nationally as the candidates and their supporters race to raise money and compete for time on the airwaves.

While the super PACs are in theory separate from the candidates themselves, it would appear that two major super PAC fundraising schemes in Denver loosely mirror that of the official campaigns' ad spending strategies so far.

Based on our research, pro-Obama PACs have been spending big at major Denver metro area TV stations, with significantly less spending from the main super PAC behind the GOP candidate.

Locally, Restore Our Future, the super PAC promoting Romney, and Priorities USA Action, the PAC behind Obama's re-election campaign, that have been competing for Denver voters' attention.

Before we get into the number-crunching we did on super PACs, it's worth noting that we've been investigating broadcast ad buys so far -- by physically stopping into the assorted TV stations, which are required to have public records available for political ad spending. Crossroads GPS, a major Romney-supporting super PAC run by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, does not have any ad buys on record at the broadcast stations we visited, but a spokesman told Westword today that while the group has not recently bought airtime for broadcast ads in Denver, Crossroads has invested in cable TV ads. And it has been reported recently that Crossroads is funneling a lot of money into swing state ads.

Let's start with 9NEWS/KUSA, which generally has the largest market share of ads in the Denver metro area, according to records from several stations.

Restore Our Future Ad against Obama.jpg
Restore Our Future ad attacking Obama.
The station had seven ad orders on file from Priorities USA, which cost a total of $193,525 and gave the group 188 spots. The ads span from the end of April through June.

At the same station, Restore Our Future, the PAC supporting Romney, had only two ad orders on file, both covering the end of April through early May. These two ads cost a total of $52,600 for fifty spots.

That means at the Denver metro area station with the largest share of ads, Priorities so far has spent more than three times as much as Restore.

(Just as a frame of reference: Rcords show that for these orders, KUSA represents around 31 percent of Priorities' ad buys, the highest slice across stations. But for Restore, KUSA's ad share is at about 23 percent, which records show is not the highest.)

Page down to see a full list of the ad buys and more of our number-crunching at two other stations where Restore has spent significantly less money than Priorities.

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