TV advertising for state elections in North Carolina reached $52 million on nearly 97,000 commercials, according to a final accounting by the Center for Public Integrity.
CPI tracked the ad spending nationwide to get a picture of what interest groups were spending money on state candidates.
North Carolina had the second highest spending in a governor race — $34.7 million on 66,725 commercials — trailing only Missouri, which elected former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens over Attorney General Chris Koster in what was expected to be a close race.
North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory trails Attorney General Roy Cooper by about 7,700 votes, which are still being counted; McCrory has asked for a recount.
Cooper spent nearly twice as much as McCrory on TV ads: $13.4 million to the governor’s $7.6 million.
McCrory’s biggest outside supporter in the TV ads war was the Republican Governors Association, which spent $3.6 million. The Democratic candidate benefited from $4.2 million in spending by a nonprofit called A Better NC.
Cooper was also backed by environmental groups, and McCrory by free-market and social conservatives.