State, congressional candidates hit TV airwaves

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A screen shot of Republican Land Commissioner Candidate Aubrey Dunn's TV ad.
A screen shot of Republican Land Commissioner Candidate Aubrey Dunn’s TV ad.

With Election Day less than a month away, more New Mexico candidates will hit the airwaves in coming weeks seeking your vote.

Nearly $7.7 million is being spent for almost 177 hours of political ads in the state, according to a New Mexico In Depth analysis of new ad contracts filed last week with the Federal Communications Commission. The analysis includes ads on traditional TV stations; satellite and cable-only stations aren’t required to file with the FCC.

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez continues to lead the way in ad spending, giving her party an edge over Democrats. She increased her spending by $192,000 last week. Her challenger, Democrat Gary King, has yet to schedule any October ads.

But Martinez isn’t the only statewide candidate running TV ads.

Both candidates for the open attorney general’s seat – Democrat Hector Balderas and Republican Susan Riedel – began TV advertising Sept. 19. And a super PAC will begin airing ads supporting Balderas later this week.

Republican Aubrey Dunn began running ads for his race for land commissioner in September, while incumbent Democratic Ray Powell began advertising on TV only in recent days. Dunn’s first ad features a former orchard owner slamming Powell.

GOP Secretary of State Dianna Duran scheduled her first round of ads last week to air later this month. Her Democratic opponent Maggie Toulouse Oliver also has ads scheduled to air beginning Oct. 14

At the federal level, incumbent Democratic Sen. Tom Udall is almost doubling the ad spending of Republican Allen Weh. The Republican increased his ad buys by almost $98,000, compared with $78,000 in new contracts for Udall.

Meanwhile, most other federal advertising continues to center on the 2nd Congressional District contest between incumbent GOP Rep. Steve Pearce and Democrat Rocky Lara, where Pearce continues to outspend his opponent.

In the 1st CD, incumbent Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham began airing her first ads of the season Oct. 3. Her GOP opponent, Mike Frese bought TV time in early September but hasn’t been on the air since.

In the 3rd CD, no stations have filed contracts for Democratic incumbent Rep. Ben Ray Lujan or GOP challenger Jefferson Byrd.

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