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 reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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