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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

4 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.