The election is still more than three months away, but Democrats and Republicans have already committed more than $5 million for television commercials on Seattle TV stations. More ads are sure to be reserved, and then there's the deluge of national ads we're guaranteed to see for presidential candidates.
That is to say: Brace yourselves for a season of nonstop political sniping on your TV.
The most recent big ad buy comes from the Republican Governors Association, which will dedicate its airtime to Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. The group has a contract with KOMO-TV for nearly $600,000, but political insiders say it has a much larger total of $2 million of combined ad buys in the works across local stations.
Still, the largest expenditures come from Democratic groups. OUR Washington has reserved more than $2 million in ads to boost McKenna's opponent, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Inslee. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which supports Democratic House candidates nationwide, has committed to $800,000 in ads.
Two candidates also stand out: Attorney general candidate Bob Ferguson (D) has reserved $470,000 in ads, while Suzan DelBene (D), running for Congress in the 1st District, will spend $158,000 during the Olympics.
This year isn't unprecedented in terms of big money. KOMO, KIRO, KING, and Q13 reported a record total of $47 million spent on political ads in 2010. But this year may top that figure with a contested race for governor and controversial issues on the ballot to legalize pot, gay marriage, and charter schools.