‘Ad’-ded value: La. gubernatorial teams lean on airwaves weeks before runoff

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BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) — Fewer candidates are running for Louisiana governor now, but more advertising funds are flowing on their behalf.

Both Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican challenger Eddie Rispone continue with strong ad buys. Here’s how much groups have spent on TV and radio spots since Oct. 12, when Edwards and Rispone won enough votes to clinch a Nov. 16 runoff:

  • Edwards campaign: $1.59M
  • Gumbo PAC (pro-Edwards): $1.11M
  • Rispone campaign: $1.3M
  • RGA Right Direction (pro-Rispone): $446K
  • Make Louisiana Great Again (pro-Rispone): $373K

Political observers are quick to see how campaign ads lure candidates and voters alike.

“They’re more pointed and easily accessible,” LSU communications professor Robert Mann said. “[Voters] are not having to sit down and read a newspaper story for five minutes or a 90-second TV story.”

The pre-recorded nature of ads also makes the candidates’ jobs easier, lending more controlled environments in a race now down to two.

“I can see a campaign considering a public appearance to be a risk,” LSU professor Joshua Darr said. “If the candidate says something wrong, maybe that leads the news instead of the message you’d prefer to push at this point.”

For now, poll figures give little wiggle room. Last week’s We Ask America poll shows Edwards and Rispone tied at 47 percent. That’s where Darr says negative ads may come in.

“People say they don’t like negative ads, but they do respond to them,” he said.

“Sometimes, studies show that people get more information from advertising than they do the news,” Mann said. “It’s sad, but it’s a fact.”

With next Wednesday marking the only runoff debate planned between Edwards and Rispone, the commercial breaks may be what sway much of the news Saturday, Nov. 16.

“Cable TV can sometimes find it hard to program weekends,” Darr said. “But in Louisiana, we’ll give them something to do on Saturdays.”

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