Independent groups take leading role in funding political ads

Sandra Fish --- Colorado Public Radio 

Outside groups stepped up to buy more than $5 million worth of the nearly $7 million in new political TV ad contracts last week.

Ads purchased by outside groups make up more than $38 million – almost 77 percent – of the total spending so far in Colorado.

Political ad buys total $49.8 million through Aug. 22 at TV stations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Durango. The buys include more than 58,000 advertisements that are 30-seconds in length– the equivalent of 20 days of TV viewing.

These are just the ads filed with the Federal Communications Commission by traditional stations. Ads run on cable or satellite TV don’t have to be reported to the FCC.

New ads this week include $1.9 million for more than 1,000 spots by >Crossroads GPS,  a group closely associated with Karl Rove, the former adviser to President George W. Bush. The new buys, which began last week and are scheduled to run from mid-September through mid-October, bring the group’s total ad spending in Colorado to $3.6 million.

The Republican Governor’s Association spent just more than $1 million to begin airing ads in the race between incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP opponent and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez.

The group scheduled ads through mid-September. Its first ad plays off Hickenlooper’s recent game of pool with President Barack Obama.

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