Brennan Center study shows 54 percent of TV ads done by outside groups

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 31, 2018

CHARLESTON — A new national study done on digital advertising in Supreme Court races in 10 states found that more than half of all TV spending done on advertisements is by outside groups.

As of Oct. 26, estimated spending on digital advertisements in West Virginia was $132,130, according to a study done by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.

There were four advertisements ran during the special election cycle by three candidates, Jim Douglas, Bo Bruner and Joanna Tabit; and one by the Republican State Leadership Committee-Judicial Fairness Initiative.

Douglas has two advertisements, totaling an estimated $1,720; Tabit has one advertisement totaling an estimated $20,480; Bruner has one advertisement totaling an estimated $8,180; and the Republican State Leadership Committee-Judicial Fairness Initiative had one advertisement totaling an estimated $101,750.

The data was provided to the Brennan Center by Kantar Media/CMAG.

The biggest spender in the television advertisements was the Republican State Leadership Committee-Judicial Fairness Initiative.

The Brennan Center noted that the initiative is a regular contributor in state court races nationwide.

The initiative has spent more than $3.2 million this year alone to support state Supreme Court candidates in both West Virginia and Arkansas, which is more than it spent in 2016 across four states.

In August, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted to impeach four West Virginia Supreme Court justices. Two justices, Menis Ketchum and Robin Jean Davis, resigned. One justice, Allen Loughry, is currently suspended and is awaiting sentencing in January regarding 11 federal counts a federal jury found him guilty on earlier this month.

Ketchum’s term expires in 2020, while Davis’s expires in 2024. Twenty candidates will be on the ballot in November for the special election.

Division 1 candidates include Tim Armstead, Harry “Bo” Bruner Jr., Robert Carlton, Ronald H. Hatfield, Mark Hunt, Hiram Lewis IV, D.C. Offutt Jr., Joanna I. Tabit, Chris Wilkes and Jeff Woods.

Offutt previously told The West Virginia Record he’s not actively campaigning for the seat.

Division 2 candidates include Jim Douglas, Robert J. Frank, Evan Jenkins, Jeffrey Kessler, Brenden Long, Jim O’Brien, Bill Schwartz, Marty Sheehan, Dennise Renee Smith, and Will Thompson.

Kantar Media/CMAG calculates and prepares the data for television advertisements and provides estimates to the Brennan Center.

The estimates provided by Kantar Media/CMAG do not reflect ad agency commissions, the costs of producing digital advertisements or the cost of buying the advertisements on local channels.

According to the Brennan Center’s study methodology, the cost estimates are revised by Kantar when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.

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