2018 Midterm Senatorial Elections: Democrats Outspending Republicans on Political Advertising in Local Broadcast

New report from Matrix Solutions shows Democratic candidates in Senate “toss up” races have purchased $9.9 million more in local TV spots than that of their opponents

PITTSBURGH—October 31, 2018—The 2018 midterm elections will determine which major party secures a Senate majority, and a new report examining candidate ad spend shows Democrats have outspent Republicans in local broadcast by more than $9.9 million. Total Democratic local TV spend for the general election is 4 percent greater than GOP opponents’ campaigning in the 10 states with toss up Senate races, whose November 6th results dictate control of the upper Congressional entity.

On average, this trend persists among individual senatorial candidates in states with the most competitive Senate elections including Beto O’Rourke (D) in Texas and Heidi Heitkamp (D) in North Dakota. Political ad spend at the local broadcast level is a key campaign tool in reaching constituents with voting power, especially in states with races deemed toss ups.

The findings come from Matrix Solutions2018 Midterms Political Ad Spend Map, a comprehensive report on local TV ad spend by candidates in the 10 states with the most competitive and decisive Senate campaigns, derived from the activity of 166 political advertising accounts facilitated by Matrix’s global ad sales platform Monarch. The data analyzed ad deals made on behalf of Democratic and Republican senatorial candidates for the duration of the 2018 general election.

“Our data shows the value each candidate places in local broadcast as an ad channel in their campaign to win their state’s open Senate seat,” said Mark Gorman, CEO at Matrix Solutions. “Local TV is a key medium for politicians hoping to sway undecided voters who possess the ability to support their campaign and to overall encourage voter turnout on election day. Both Democratic and Republican senatorial candidates are counting on this election to secure their party’s influence in the Senate and a strong local broadcast footprint will bolster these efforts.”

Local Broadcast Senatorial Candidate Ad Spend by State






Kyrsten Sinema
$12,965,853 (51%)

Martha McSally
$12,292,265 (49%)



Bill Nelson
$18,255,405 (46%)

Rick Scott
$21,737,039 (54%)



Joe Donnelly
$18,743,887 (60%)

Mike Braun
$12,603,844 (40%)



Claire McCaskill
$20,284,979 (52%)

Josh Hawley
$18,635,933 (48%)



Jon Tester
$8,825,145 (50%)

Matthew Rosendale
$8,681,950 (50%)



Jacky Rosen
$18,509,810 (53%)

Dean Heller
$16,181,453 (47%)



Heidi Heitkamp
$6,589,261 (51%)

Kevin Cramer
$6,304,903 (49%)



Phil Bredesen
$12,897,704 (48%)

Marsha Blackburn
$13,826,702 (52%)



Beto O'Rourke
$5,301,520 (56%)

Ted Cruz
$4,107,297 (44%)



Joe Manchin
$10,653,092 (55%)

Patrick Morrisey
$8,706,067 (45%)


Total Local Broadcast Senatorial Candidate Ad Spend by Party



Democratic Spend

$133,026,657 (52%)

Republican Spend

$123,077,453 (48%)



Notably, Texas candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) is outspending opponent Ted Cruz (R) by $1.2 million (12 percent) in local broadcast, and likewise, Indiana candidate Joe Donnelly (D) is outspending opponent Mike Braun (R) by $6.1 million (20 percent). Exceptions to the encompassing trend, in which Republican candidates have purchased more local TV advertising in their respective senatorial campaigns, include Florida’s Rick Scott (R) and Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn (R).

A full graphical representation of the 2018 Midterms Political Ad Spend Map findings can be found here.

Matrix Solutions looked at more than $256 million worth of relevant political ad sales to determine individual and total local broadcast spend of Democratic and Republican senatorial candidates in the toss up states of Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia – normalizing spend figures from the activity of 166 active accounts. Political ad spend in local TV was retrieved for the duration of each state’s 2018 general election campaign, starting from the most comprehensive full month in which the race began and tracking scheduled advertising through November 2018. Each candidate’s spend is inclusive of purchases made by Thursday, October 25th in their favor by PACs, political committees and organizations, and themselves, among others.

About Matrix Solutions

Matrix Solutions makes media happen by helping media companies to better monetize their content. Its flagship product, Monarch, is the only global ad sales platform built for media – transforming chaotic data into actionable sales information that delivers the insights necessary for prospecting, managing, evaluating and closing business.

The company manages more than $13 billion in media ad revenue, offering its best-in-class analytics, sales intelligence, media-specific CRM and sales tools to more than 10,000 media sellers to more efficiently manage their workflow.

For more information, please visit matrixformedia.com.


Diffusion PR for Matrix Solutions
Zach Berman
1 (646) 571-0120


Tags: Mark Gorman, Advertising Spend Report, Advertising Trends, Political Ad Spend

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