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Race to Super Tuesday, Now on TV

By Matthew Mosk
The first trickle of television ads are starting to make their way onto television screens in Super Tuesday states, the 22 separate battle grounds where on Feb. 5 leading candidates for president believe they will make or break their bids for the White House.

Democrat Barack Obama announced this morning he has launched his first television ads in the Phoenix, Arizona, media market, and in the crucial, delegate-rich state of California. Those ads are going up in the San Francisco Bay area. The campaign did not say how much was spent on the ads.

See the California ad here.

See the Arizona ad here.

Designing an advertising strategy for the Feb. 5, multi-state contest is among the most complicated tasks facing campaigns now. They must factor in financial concerns -- some experts predict a bare-bones television advertising campaign in multiple major media markets could cost $40 million. And they must make geographic considerations: Should Obama advertise in New York, where Democrat Hillary Clinton is a popular, home-state senator? Should Clinton advertise in Illinois, where Obama is a popular, home-state senator?

One state likely to attract ads from every major candidate is California. None of the leading presidential candidates hails from the state, so there is no home-field advantage, and it holds the key to an enormous cache of delegates -- 441 delegates on the Democratic side, and 173 delegates on the Republican side.

Evan Tracey, chief operating officer of the Campaign Media Analysis Group, has predicted that few candidates will try to cover the waterfront by purchasing national network television ads, although Republican Rudolph Giuliani has bought national ads on the Fox Network to run during the Sunday morning political talk shows.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 12, 2008; 1:05 PM ET
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