Republican super PAC continues pounding TV airwaves with control of state House at stake

11/06/2016 07:30 AM

As a Democratic super PAC launches a late wave of television ads in state House races, its Republican counterpart continues to pepper the airwaves in select districts as Election Day nears.

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, a GOP super PAC that made its name supporting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, has reported spending $765,357 since Pure Politics last updated outside spending in this year’s House races, according to filings with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

The lion’s share of that spending — $465,301 — came in TV advertising. Here’s a breakdown of which districts are getting the most attention from the group on TV airwaves as it tries to help Republicans wrest control of the House from Democrats, who hold a 53-47 majority heading into Tuesday’s elections:

  • $127,176 in the 12th House District held by Rep. Jim Gooch, R-Providence
  • $102,845 in the 92nd House District held by Rep. John Short, D-Mallie
  • $89,064 in the 91st House District held by Rep. Cluster Howard, D-Jackson
  • $37,626 in the open 94th House District last held by Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville
  • $32,805 in the 84th House District held by Rep. Fitz Steele, D-Hazard
  • $32,189 in the open 23rd House District last held by House Majority Whip Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow
  • $23,910 in the 38th House District held by Rep. Denny Butler, R-Louisville
  • $19,686 in the 16th House District held by Rep. Martha Jane King, D-Lewisburg

Kentuckians for Strong Leadership has also expanded its map slightly in terms of radio, adding the 24th House District held by Rep. Terry Mills, D-Lebanon, with a $39,053 buy and the 14th House District held by Rep. Tommy Thompson, D-Owensboro, with a $15,989 buy, KREF filings show.

The super PAC also spent $63,335 on radio spots in Republican Rep. Suzanne Miles’ 7th House District, following up on a previous $15,069 buy on the radio airwaves there.

In all, the group reported spending $212,028 to supplement its TV advertising with radio spots as well as $26,000 in digital advertising in the 38th, 84th, 91st and 94th districts, according to KREF filings.

The super PAC also spent $9,952 on direct-mail pieces in King’s 16th district and bought its only newspaper space in the western district with $2,500 in print advertising, KREF records show.

It also invested in calls in a wider range of districts, including House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s 95th House District. Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has faced a barrage of negative TV ads from another outside group, the Republican State Leadership Committee, in his re-election campaign.

The group’s spending totals do not include KREF filings that appear duplicative.

Scott Jennings, senior advisor for Kentuckians for Strong Leadership, did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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