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Since shutdown, Cuccinelli outspent 2-to-1 on air

Pro-Cuccinelli ad spending in red. Pro-McAuliffe ad spending in blue.
Pro-Cuccinelli ad spending in red. Pro-McAuliffe ad spending in blue.SMG Delta

Since the government shutdown, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has outspent Republican Ken Cuccinelli 2-to-1 on the airwaves.

In the last two weeks, pro-McAuliffe groups have doubled Cuccinelli and his allies $2.2 million to $1.1 million, according to an analysis by SMG Delta, which tracks broadcast, cable, and radio advertising for Republican campaigns.

“We have been on the air. We have not run out of money,” said a top Cuccinelli strategist, who acknowledged, “But this much is true - we are getting outspent 2-1.”

The spending disparity comes as the conservative, Tea Party-aligned attorney general -- and the Republican Party, in general -- has taken a hit in the polls the last two weeks. Virginia is home to not only nearly 200,000 federal workers but also many federal contractors and military service members and veterans. Because of that, one analysis found Virginia to be the state most affected by the government shutdown.

Pro-Cuccinelli ad spending in red. Pro-McAuliffe ad spending in blue.
Pro-Cuccinelli ad spending in red. Pro-McAuliffe ad spending in blue.SMG Delta

Overall, the McAuliffe campaign and pro-McAuliffe groups have outspent Cuccinelli and his allies $12.5 million to $8.4 million on the air since the beginning of the campaign, per SMG Delta.

McAuliffe has outraised Cuccinelli $25.9 million to $17.4 million, according to data collected by the Virginia Public Access Project. 

Even though the McAuliffe campaign has been outspending Cuccinelli 2-to-1 on the air of late, it also has more cash on hand -- $1.9 million to $1.1 million.

The Republican Governors Association has been doing some heavy financial lifting for the Cuccinelli campaign, pouring in $7.9 million, according to VPAP. In fact, through Sept. 30th, the RGA accounts for $1 out of every $3 raised by Cuccinelli. The Democratic Governors Association has transferred about $6 million to McAuliffe.

From April to the beginning of June, the Cuccinelli campaign kept pace with McAuliffe, if not outspending it on the air, according to SMG Delta. But then the Cuccinelli campaign went dark for a month from mid-June to mid-July.

The summers are traditionally a slow time for campaigns, and the McAuliffe campaign also reduced its spending. But from late July through August, the Cuccinelli campaign ramped up on air, outspending the McAuliffe campaign, for example, in the week of July 29th $780,000 to $500,000.

But by late August, McAuliffe began to dominate the airwaves and has consistently outspent Cuccinelli with brutally negative ads for nine of the last 11 weeks.

Outside groups have played in the election, but most of the money spent on ads have been by the campaigns or parties themselves.

The largest outside ad spender has been Next Generation with a little more than $1.7 million spent in support of McAuliffe. Citizens United is next with about $500,000 for Cuccinelli; the Virginia Principles Fund PAC spent $280,000; the NRA chipped in about $270,000; Ending Spending spent $64,000 and Fight for Tomorrow about $41,000.

But the level of Republican outside spending is nowhere near the pace of the 2012 presidential election. Overall, pro-Cuccinelli groups have spent about $1.2 million. Pro-McAuliffe groups outpaced that with about $2.1 million.

Planned Parenthood was the only other pro-McAuliffe group to make a major dent, spending about $370,000.