Pearce/Lara ad race heats up

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A screen shot from one of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce's ads.

A screen shot from one of U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce's ads.

The ad war in the 2nd Congressional District race between incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Pearce and Democratic challenger Rocky Lara is heating up.

Lara is outspending Pearce for ads running in September, $209,020 to $151,265. But Pearce retains a substantial lead in spending on campaign TV ads, with more than $600,000 in ads scheduled through Election Day. He’s the third-largest ad spender among New Mexico’s political candidates, behind Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democrat U.S. Senator Tom Udall.

The $209,020 Lara’s campaign is spending is for ads that will run through next Sunday, Sept. 28. According to the latest reports, Lara hadn’t purchased ad time past Sept. 28.

Pearce’s first ads began running Sept. 10 and Lara’s appeared a couple of days later, government records show.

Pearce’s and Lara’s spending in the 2nd Congressional District race helped push spending on political ads in this year’s New Mexico election races beyond $6 million through Friday, Sept. 19, and total ad time would near six straight days of viewing, or 142 hours.

As New Mexico In Depth wrote in an initial analysis of the political ad market, Martinez and Udall, both incumbents, account for more than half the ad spending.

The only other advertising thus far by a congressional candidate is from Republican Mike Frese, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham in Congressional District 1. His ad buys are almost $29,000 for portions of September.

Here’s a look at spending and number of ads by advertiser:

Martinez’s ad spending neared $2 million last week, compared with about $358,000 for her Democratic opponent, Attorney General Gary King, who hasn’t been on TV for almost a month.

In Udall’s race, his $1.2 million in spending tops the $365,000 spent by his Republican opponent Allen Weh.

Here’s a look at spending by affiliation:

The analysis is based on filings by TV stations with the Federal Communications Commission. It doesn’t include ads run solely on cable or satellite TV or on radio.

New Mexico In Depth will continue to analyze TV political ad buys each Monday through the Nov. 4 election.

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