Arkansans Have Endured 80k Political Ads Worth $33.1M

According to extensive research by The Center for Public Integrity, Arkansans have been inundated with $33.1 million worth of television ads this election season. 

Overall, that's 80,100 ads on your television screens. And there's still a few weeks to go before Election Day.

The majority of those ads have come from the race between Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton for a U.S. Senate seat. According to CPI, $24.1 million has been spent on 56,000 ads. According to the center's research, most of that money, $13 million, has come from outside groups.

On the Democratic side, some of the major donors include the Senate Majority PAC ($2.3 million), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($2 million) and Patriot Majority USA ($1.3 million), in addition the Pryor campaign, which has shelled out $4.2 million. 

In support of Cotton, the major players have been Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies ($2.7 million), Americans for Prosperity ($1.6 million), American Crossroads ($1.1 million) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($1.1 million). The Cotton campaign has dished out $2.8 million for ads.

To date, research by The Center for Public Integrity shows Cotton is outspending Pryor, $12.7 million to $11.3 million. However, the research also shows Pryor and his supporters have run 28,300 ads, compared to 27,700 ads from the Cotton camp.

Compared against all other races for U.S. Senate, Arkansas is tied for No. 7 in dollars spent. Per eligible voter, Arkansas jumps to No. 3 with $11 spent per voter, which only trails races in Alaska and Iowa where $12 is being spent per voter.

At the state level, Arkansas ranks No. 17 in the country with $9 million spent in various political races, which comes to $4.23 per eligible voter and 24,100 ads. Unlike the Pryor-Cotton race, state-level races in Arkansas have seen more money from the candidates ($5.5 million) than outside groups ($3.5 million).

The majority of that $9 million comes from the race for governor, between Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross, where $5.9 million has been spent.

The Hutchinson campaign leads the way with $2 million spent on ads, compared to $1.5 million by the Ross campaign. Outside groups supporting the candidates — the Republican Governors Association and Jobs & Opportunity — have spent identical totals, $1.2 million, on ads targeting the opposing candidate.

Races for attorney general ($1.4 million) and lieutenant governor ($1.3 million) have also crossed the six-figure mark.

For more numbers on political ads in Arkansas, check out the U.S. Senate numbers here and state-level race numbers here.