Under the Dome

Who’s spending money on political ads in N.C.?

Tracking TV ads in 2016
Tracking TV ads in 2016 Center for Public Integrity

Political ads are roaring through North Carolina at a brisk pace, which comes as no surprise.

But the Center for Public Integrity is measuring who is spending what each week to influence the outcome of the November election. So far, more than $148 million has been spent on state-level political ads through Monday.

As of this week, $22 million of it has been spent on 41,701 ads in North Carolina. Most of that — $19.4 million — has been spent on the gubernatorial campaign.

Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has outspent Republican Gov. Pat McCrory $7.9 million to $4.6 million, which has allowed Cooper to buy nearly twice as many TV commercials.

Other top spenders in the race are the Republican Governors Association, $1.8 million; N.C. Environmental Partnership, $1.3 million; and the Natural Resources Defense Council, $1.3 million.

Much of the Cooper support from outside groups comes from environment and education advocates. McCrory’s support has come from religious and free-market advocates.

The North Carolina campaigns for governor have attracted the second-highest amount spent on TV ads in the nation, trailing only Missouri.

Other North Carolina highlights:

Attorney general: Democrat Josh Stein has spent $656,840 on ads, and his Republican opponent Sen. Buck Newton has spent $103,240.

Lieutenant governor: Incumbent Republican Dan Forest has spent just $4,780 on TV ads, while Democratic challenger Linda Coleman has spent $104,710.

The Center for Public Integrity is analyzing data collected by the Kantar Media/CMAG media tracking firm.

(One note: NC WARN was incorrectly listed as a conservative group. It is a clean energy advocacy organization that ran an ad that the media trackers interpreted as against Cooper. CPI says it will change the description to “other.”)


Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO