Dan Onorato answered one of the big Pa campaign spending questions when he reached into his $6.7 million warchest and finally started statewide TV advertising on Tuesday. Now Shira Toeplitz at CQ Politics raises similar questions on the other statewide race -- when will Joe Sestak dip into his $5 million to introduce himself to Senate voters, and where will he do it?
Several Pennsylvania officials and operatives, all of whom declined to speak on the record, said the big decision for Sestak’s campaign will be whether to spend most of his cash buying TV time in the expensive Philadelphia media market. Significant broadcast buys in the city carry a hefty price tag of around $800,000 per week; however, the market covers almost half of the state’s Democratic primary voters.
Given Specter’s well-established base in the Philadelphia region, it’s doubtful that Sestak’s money could be spent effectively in that market. According to the most recent polling on the race from Quinnipiac University, 66 percent of voters in the Philadelphia area have not heard of Sestak while only 13 percent of voters have not heard of Specter.
Most of the operatives interviewed for this story said Sestak should forgo broadcast television in the Philadelphia media market. They argued he should instead buy cable only in the suburbs, and then purchase significant television time in cheaper markets that have a high concentration of Democratic primary voters, such as Pittsburgh and Scranton.
Another thing to remember: Sestak's media is being handled by The Campaign Group, which is also doing the advertising for Onorato.