Democratic presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders plan on spending about $2 million combined in TV ads in California as their primary election campaigns hit the final stretch.
Sanders launched a $1.13 million ad buy targeting 21 stations and three cable networks in Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento. His campaign includes ads on the Spanish-language stations for Telemundo and Univision in Fresno and Los Angeles, according to a veteran broadcast media consultant familiar with the numbers.
Clinton began a similar effort Thursday, with about $940,000 committed so far in those three communities, according to preliminary numbers. The figure is expected to rise.
Clinton also plans advertising on Spanish-language stations in Sacramento, as well as in Los Angeles and Fresno.
Both candidates plan to continue to campaign in California as the June 7 primary election approaches.
Most of the Sanders campaign spending — about $966,000 — is focused on Los Angeles County, which has about a fourth of the California electorate. Of the 10 commercial TV stations in Los Angeles, a combined $612,000 is buying time on four major outlets — KABC, KNBC, KCBS and KTLA. The campaign is also spending nearly $141,000 on two Spanish-language stations — KMEX (Univision) and KVEA (Telemundo).
The campaign has bought time on eight stations in Fresno, including a $22,000 buy on that city’s Univision and Telemundo affiliates, and a $110,000 combined buy in Sacramento on four network affiliates and a cable network.
Clinton’s campaign has bought time on those stations and several others. Her biggest single buy is $104,440 on KABC and $86,000 on KNBC, both in L.A. She also spent $278,000 on a cable link covering the entire market.
The candidates receive what is called the “lowest unit rate” from the TV stations, which are required to provide time slots for the ads. The price is less than for commercial advertisers or for ballot initiative campaigns, which are required to pay the full rate. The discounted rate, sometimes 35 percent to 50 percent, means a candidate “can spend one dollar and get two dollars worth of time,” the consultant said.
Thus far through the campaign cycle, Clinton leads Sanders in pledged delegates to the Democratic national convention, 1,768 to 1,497. In superdelegates, Clinton has 537 to Sanders’ 42.
California, the nation’s most populous state, has 546 delegates at stake in the Democratic primary.
Ed’s Note: Updates earlier story throughout with newly available Clinton spending figures in California.