Bradford County Commissioner and lieutenant governor candidate Mark Smith has announced that he will be spending $156,785 on TV ads during the final week of the primary from May 13th to May 20th. The two ads are each 15 seconds long and focus on Smith’s biography and working class policy positions.
While the ads are pretty solid campaign pieces, the nature of this ad buy is pretty perplexing and may prove too little too late.
Records show that Smith will be spending $102,850 in the Philadelphia media market, $32,400 in Pittsburgh, and $21,535 in Willkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazleton. That’s simply not enough to make an impact, especially given the fact that the four gubernatorial candidates will be flooding the airwaves with their own last-minute ads, relegating a small buy such as Smith’s to background noise.
While the four gubernatorial candidates have not finished purchasing ads for the final week, it is safe to say that the combined ad buy between Tom Wolf, Rob McCord, Allyson Schwartz, and Katie McGinty in those three markets will exceed $2 million.
Even if the full $156,785 were spent in Philadelphia alone, it would barely register with voters. In addition to gubernatorial ads, the race in Pennsylvania’s 13th District will see major Philly TV time too, further drowning out smaller ad buys.
State Senator Mike Stack, who is also running for lieutenant governor, has roughly $700,000 that he could choose to spend on TV ads. Should Stack choose to “drop mad stacks” on getting on air, he would be the only candidate with the ability to have the GRPs (gross rating points) necessary to resonate in the mind of the average voter.
Smith and Stack also face former Congressman Mark Critz, Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, and State Representative Brandon Neumann in the race for the #2 slot on the gubernatorial ticket.