Oct 31, 2022 - Politics

Onslaught of political ads to hit before midterms

Illustration of J.B. Pritzker, tinted blue, and Darren Bailey, tinted red, separated by a white halftone divider.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Natasha Moustache/Getty Images and Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

👋 Hi, it's Justin! This weekly Trail Mix column covering the midterm election cycle comes with a warning — brace yourself for more political ads on their way to your screens.

Methodology: I looked at FCC public records to see what campaigns are spending as we approach Election Day.

  • I examined WGN-TV's contracts from 10/26 to 11/6, although other Chicago stations show similar spending for the same time period.
  • These are just ad purchases by the campaigns themselves, not the PACs supporting candidates.

By the numbers: Gov. JB Pritzker bought 324 spots for $274,150 through today.

  • GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey purchased 159 spots for $134,500 through next Monday.
  • Secretary of State Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias: 78 spots at $64,075 through today.

Surprise spender: Incumbent Democrat Rep. Anne Stava-Murray (Naperville area) has secured 98 spots for $66,425 through next week.

The intrigue: Other than Bailey, GOP state candidates haven't purchased many spots on Chicago stations.

  • The ads you're seeing are from PACs and are not produced by the candidate's campaign.

Bailey brings crime to CTA

Bailey tweeted photos of himself and team members campaigning on the North Side last week, taking photos and handing out flyers on the Belmont L station platform.

  • One problem: It's against the law.

Context: According to CTA rules, "distributing of advertisements or any other written materials or soliciting or petitioning" is "prohibited in the paid areas and prohibited in the unpaid areas if blocking ingress or egress or the flow of traffic."

  • Basically, you may not hand out materials on platforms, and you may stand in front of the station only if you're not blocking patrons' right of way.

The bottom line: We thought Bailey was campaigning to lower crime on the CTA, not add to it.

Trust issues

Trust in U.S. institutions, by region
Data: 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the Midwest is more distrustful of American institutions than the rest of the nation.

Bottom line: We don't trust anybody.


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