Arizona political advertisement spending breaks records

Candidates spent $260 million by Election Day over television, digital, and radio markets

The Sun Belt state of Arizona has seen its political advertising spending records smashed over the course of the 2020 election cycle,

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Eager to woo voters in the new battleground, both Democrats and Republicans shelled out millions for their candidates.

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Television advertisements for President Trump, GOP Sen. Martha McSally, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden cost between $2,500 and $5,000 during an October episode of "Saturday Night Live," and Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly paid $26,000 for a one-minute ad during "The Voice," according to The Arizona Republic.

The total figure spent across television, radio, and digital markets reached $260 million by Election Day, Glendale, Ariz., radio station KTAR-FM reported Tuesday.

Election workers sort ballots Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office in Phoenix. (Associated Press)

During the 2018 midterm elections, just $100 million was spent in the state on political ads, though spending efforts paid off for Democrats who were eventually elected to both Senate and House positions.

However, races this year were a different story, and Democrats felt emboldened in a traditionally Republican stronghold.

The Senate race between incumbent McSally and challenger Kelly garnered national attention and contributions, as Democrats continued their push to take back control of the chamber.

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If elected, Kelly -- a former NASA astronaut -- would take office by Nov. 30, a motivating factor for his party.

The contentious race between the two service members crushed previous spending records to become one of the most expensive Senate races in history, with a price tag of more than $130 million.

KTAR noted Cox Media's reported earnings for ads in Phoenix -- the state capital -- and southern Arizona hovered at a little over $8 million for Kelly and just over $3.3 million for McSally.

The company also reported a similar pattern for ads related to the general election in the same region.

Earnings for ads associated with Biden capped off at $7.7 million and just over $1 million for the president.

Biden has vastly outpaced President Trump in fundraising -- as have many Democrats in tight races -- and both the Biden and Kelly campaigns were outspending their opponents.

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Nationally, Biden has spent $56 million to the president's $32 million on TV ads, according to data from the Wesleyan Media Project.