Editor’s note: The Center for Public Integrity is tracking political advertising in races for the U.S. Senate and state-level offices. Use these two, interactive features — with new data every Thursday — to see who is calling the shots and where the money is being spent.
Congratulations, North Carolina: You’ve become the year’s great state of political hate.
Tar Heels last week endured more than 10,800 U.S. Senate election-focused TV ads that featured at least some content that tarred and feathered either incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan or Republican challenger Thom Tillis.
That’s more than one negative TV ad every minute from Tuesday, Oct. 14 to Monday, Oct. 20, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of preliminary data from Kantar Media/CMAG, an ad tracking firm.
No other U.S. Senate race — even the bitter contests in Kentucky, Iowa and Georgia — has experienced such sustained vitriol during the 2014 election cycle.
More than a dozen different political committees, super PACs and politically active nonprofit groups contributed to North Carolina’s hostility parade, which Hagan and Tillis themselves helped marshal in conjunction with their national party committee allies.
In all, the Hagan campaign and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee combined last week to produce more than 4,300 TV ads that either overtly attacked Tillis or negatively contrasted him with Hagan, the analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data indicates.
She’s even aired ads about ads: One Hagan spot slams Tillis for one of his own attack ads, with the senator saying Tillis should be “ashamed” of himself for his “outrageous” assertions about her record on military issues.
Tillas and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, meanwhile, aired about 2,900 anti-Hagan TV ads during the same seven days.