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Who's Spending the Most on 2016 Ads So Far?

It's not someone named Clinton or Trump.
Image: Top-Polling GOP Candidates Participate In First Republican Presidential Debate
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: A television camera with teleprompter is prepared ahead of the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

While news coverage of the 2016 race has largely been dominated by Donald Trump’s rise and the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s emails, the TV airwaves have included plenty of appearances by other candidates – just during the commercial breaks.

A new look at ad-spending numbers from NBC partner SMG Delta shows that backers of John Kasich have spent the most money to date of any 2016 contender, with his campaign and pro-Kasich group New Day for America dropping more than $3.5 million in ad money on New Hampshire so far.

Conservative Solutions Project, a super PAC boosting Marco Rubio, has spent $2.6 million on national cable ads to date, while a series of pro-Bobby Jindal groups have doled out $1.5 million for ads so far – all in the early caucus state of Iowa.

Other big spenders include Chris Christie’s campaign and his America Leads PAC, which have put a combined $1.4 million into New Hampshire TV ads, and Rick Perry’s Opportunity and Freedom PAC, which has spent almost $815,000 in Iowa alone.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spent a total of $1.6 million to date, with about $950,000 on ads in New Hampshire and $651,000 in Iowa.

Given that Super PACs and outside groups have to pay more for TV ads than actual campaigns, money spent isn’t a perfect metric to determine the influence of the ads that actually air. As a candidate using campaign cash, for example, Clinton’s ads are almost sure to be bought at much lower rates than those purchased by Kasich or Rubio’s super PACs.

But the numbers do give a peek at just how much money is set to be spent in early states before the nominating contests are over.

SMG Delta’s data shows 2016 campaigns and their affiliated superPACs have made advance reservations of a total of almost $80 million in airtime in just four states; Iowa ($29 million), New Hampshire ($32.7 million), South Carolina ($10.8 million) and Nevada ($310,951).