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Spending on TV political advertising for the midterms will be nearly as high as presidential election spending two years ago, according to estimates from MAGNA.

Expand chart
Adapted from MAGNA; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Between the numbers: This year's midterm spend is up so much compared to the 2014 midterms due to more competitive races. The Cook Political Report, which ranks races by competitiveness, cites 95 House races as being "competitive" this year and eight Senate races as "toss-ups" compared to 68 House races being "competitive" at this time in 2014 and nine Senate races as "toss-ups."

The bigger picture: While digital is the future, local television is still king when it comes to political advertising and direct mail is still a very popular way to reach voters.

  • In particular, the growth of addressable TV advertising (ads that can be digitally-targeted by household) has become a powerful tool for midterm election advertisers.
  • According to Vincent Letang, EVP, director of global forecasting for Magna Global and author of the report, political campaigns have been pioneering those new capabilities within the industry, because they are very incentivized to take advantage of as niche targeting as possible.

Be smart: Political advertising is what is keeping local television in the U.S. afloat generally. MAGNA estimates that local TV ad spend will be up 9% this year over last year, but If it weren't for this year's elections, it would be down 4.5%.

Go deeper

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.