Washington political ads hit Portland airwaves

Citizens of Portland might be nearly as informed about who’s running for office in Washington state as their neighbors to the north, thanks to a series of political ads hitting network stations in the Portland metro area.

Politicians and political groups trying to reach voters in Southwest Washington have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on network television ads this fall.

So far, those Washington politicians buying network TV ads in the Portland region are: Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, Republican Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, Democratic Congresswoman Maria Cantwell, and state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

A couple political groups from Washington state also got in on the Portland TV action. Washington United for Marriage — proponents of same-sex marriage — plan to spend at least half a million dollars on more than 650 TV ads. Proponents of Washington state’s charter school proposal — Initiative 1240 — plan to spend at least $150,000 on 150 ads.

That’s all according to the Federal Communication Commission’s political advertisement database. The data provides a rough estimate of politicians’ network TV ad spending. Many of the reports TV networks file are updated several times, and it’s possible politicians will buy more ad slots in the coming weeks.

First-term U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler, of Camas, bought many 30-second ad slots with the KATU (ABC), KPTV (FOX), KGW (NBC), and KOIN (CBS) network stations for the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 general election. The more than 300 ads cost Herrera Beutler’s campaign roughly $200,000.

Herrera Beutler’s Democratic challenger, Jon Haugen, has purchased no network TV ads.

Sen. Cantwell plans to spend more than $100,000 on about 200 ads airing on Portland television, according to the FCC data. McKenna plans to spend slightly more on at least 240 ads.

Benton was the only legislative candidate from Southwest Washington who has paid for network TV ads in the Portland metro area. He is locked in a tight race to defend his Senate seat against state Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver.

Benton has an agreement to buy 23 TV ads on KGW (NBC) for more than $9,000 and 17 ads on KPTV (FOX) for more than $5,000.

Washington candidates chose a wide variety of network TV shows to advertise on. Evening news, morning talk shows, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Dr. Phil,” “Judge Judy,” “The Price is Right,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and Major League Baseball’s World Series are just a sampling of the programming listed on their FCC forms.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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