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Political ad spending for 2022 on track to double 2018 total

Spending on political ads for 2022 races is set to exceed the amount spent in 2020 and more than double the total from 2018, according to a report from AdImpact.

In July 2021, AdImpact projected that candidates, PACs, and issue groups would spend $8.9 billion on ads for the 2022 cycle, just shy of the record-breaking $9 billion spent in 2020. A year later, AdImpact revised that number upward to $9.7 billion, projecting that 2022 would be the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history. Ad spending in 2018 fell just short of $4 billion.

"Midterm elections are typically less costly than those that include presidential races," but the 36 gubernatorial races this cycle help compensate for the lack of a presidential contest at the top of the ballot, The Wall Street Journal explains.

Ad spending on Senate races in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada is expected to approach or exceed $250 million each. Broadcast TV is still the most popular venue for political ads — accounting for about $5 billion in projected spending — but campaigns and groups are also stepping up spending on streaming ads, which could approach $1.5 billion.