During the second week of September, candidates, parties and other politically active groups sponsored about 4,500 U.S. Senate race-focused TV ads in each state, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of preliminary estimates from Kantar Media/CMAG, an advertising tracking service.
That’s nearly one ad every two minutes.
The Senate races in Iowa and Michigan — both are open-seat contests because Democratic incumbents are retiring — have this month emerged as two of the nation’s hottest as Republicans battle Democrats for control of Congress’ upper chamber.
Voters have been “inundated with advertising,” said Barbara Trish, a professor of political science at Grinnell College in Iowa.
“You can pretty much saturate [Iowa],” she added, “for a lot less money” than many other parts of the country.
Only one other Senate contest attracted more ads from Tuesday, Sept. 9, through Monday, Sept. 15: North Carolina, where viewers saw about 4,800 ads, according to estimates by Kantar Media/CMAG.
There, incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, is locked in an equally nasty and pricey battle with Republican challenger Thom Tillis, the state’s House majority leader.
The GOP must pick up at least six seats in November to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats.