The Biden agenda is back, abortion rights win in Kansas, and a shady advertiser tries to kill reconciliation
With less than 100 days to Election Day, Democrats are on the cusp of a major win for the Biden agenda - and a historic investment in combatting climate change. Getting to this moment was a result of hard-fought lobbying efforts, endless amounts of organizing, and millions of dollars spent in online and television ad wars.
In this week’s FWIW, we’ll break down the latest on the digital fight for the Inflation Reduction Act, highlight some dirty tricks in Kansas, and flag one shady digital advertiser that we’re keeping our eye on. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, here were the top-spending political advertisers on Facebook + Instagram last week:
Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, running for Senate in Ohio, was the top spending political candidate nationwide on Facebook and Instagram last week. The Ryan campaign has bucked its own party’s traditional messaging and flooded the zone with innovative digital ads meant to persuade Republican voters in the Buckeye state. He’s highlighted positive appearances on Fox News and touted his disagreements with Barack Obama, and it may be starting to pay off in some early polls. Many of his campaign’s recent Facebook ads even accuse his opponent of wanting to defund the police.
While Ryan spent ~$157,000 on digital ads last week, J.D. Vance spent under $1,000. 👀
Speaking of Facebook ad spending, we recently noticed that in Pennsylvania’s competitive U.S. Senate race, Republican Mehmet Oz has not purchased a single Facebook ad since May 1st. 🤯
Meanwhile, here were the top political advertisers on Google platforms last week, including YouTube:
Sen. Raphael Warnock launched new YouTube ads last week, touting the Senate’s recent passage of the CHIPS Act to boost U.S. manufacturing. Here’s how his campaign is messaging it across Georgia:
Kansans for Constitutional Freedom was the umbrella coalition of abortion rights supporters in the victorious Kansas ballot initiative campaign this week, and was also a top spender on Google and YouTube ads. Here’s a great summary of that group’s messaging strategy >>.
… and here are the top political ad spenders on Snapchat so far this year:
Looking for more detailed midterm candidate spending numbers? We provide weekly + historical data in battleground races for premium subscribers every week. Here are links to that content for Senate campaigns and Gubernatorial races.
From around the internet
To Cameo or not to Cameo? Roll Call has a look at how political campaigns are thinking about using the D-List celebrity video platform to their advantage. Read about it here >>
Content that is shared organically on social media platforms like Facebook can have a much larger impact than paid advertising. Which midterm candidates are receiving the most reactions, comments, and shares on their campaign’s Facebook posts? Here’s a roundup for premium FWIW subscribers >>
National Republicans are continuing to wage war against Google for what they perceive to be unfair practices related to their email fundraising programs. The Washington Post reports they may actually win this battle >>
Dan Pfeiffer is up this morning with a piece on PA Democrat John Fetterman’s communications strategy, and why he thinks keeps getting it right. Read more at Message Box >>
Following a too-close-to-call primary on Tuesday, MAGA social media queen Kari Lake eventually won the Republican nomination for Governor of Arizona. As we wrote last week, she’s well equipped to win the general election in November. You can support her opponent, Democratic Sec. of State Katie Hobbs here.
Meddling? What Meddling?
On Tuesday, Kansans overwhelmingly voted “NO” to repealing state-level constitutional protections for abortion rights in their state. That vote sent a powerful message to politicians across the nation that when confronted with the issue at the ballot box, even conservative voters want to defend their right to an abortion. On Monday, however, many voters received text messages telling them that in order to do so, they should vote “YES.”
“Women in KS are losing their choice on reproductive rights,” the text warned. “Voting YES on the Amendment will give women a choice. Vote YES to protect women’s health.”
Isaac Stanley Becker at the Washington Post uncovered the actors behind some of the most deceptive political text messages we’ve seen in recent years >>
Build Back Better is back, sort of. Last week’s surprise announcement of the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” energized Democrats and immediately spurred lobbying groups to action. Many people in the Twitterverse were holding their breath for what the last remaining holdout, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, would say about the deal.
Well, last night, the white smoke emerged from Sinema’s office, a few hedge fund managers rejoiced, and it looks like this thing is going to get passed.
Last fall, we reported on the campaigns that helped get us to this point - including the largest pro-climate advertising campaign in history, and this week, we saw many of those same groups immediately restart aggressive ad campaigns on the issue.
It’s not just climate groups, either - industry associations and conservative organizations have also mobilized and launched campaigns in the past week to sink the bill for its taxation and drug pricing components.
We saw 112 Facebook ads from two dozen advertisers mentioning “reconciliation” this week, and another 285 ads from around 60 advertisers mentioning the “inflation reduction act.” Some of the most notable ads on the Left came from Climate Power, Action for the Climate Emergency, BlueGreen Alliance, and the DNC, while on the Right we saw One Nation, Americans for Prosperity, and the National Association of Manufacturers try to kill the bill.
Now, with Senate Democrats on board, Climate Power immediately pivoted to wrangling potentially problematic House Democrats - launching ads this morning targeting conserva-dems like Josh Gottheimer and progressives like Cori Bush.
Who the **** is United for Clean Power?
Speaking of reconciliation…
ICYMI, on Tuesday, we published a brief investigation into one group running ads that seem to want to kill the reconciliation bill altogether. An obscure “pro-climate” organization called United for Clean Power is asserting that the Inflation Reduction Act “doesn’t go far enough” on combatting climate change, and has spent six figures on digital ads to get that message in front of House progressives. Here’s the problem: the group’s only major expenditure in recent years was to a Republican consulting firm.
You can read the full piece here, and rest assured - we have a lot more to share on this group in the next few days, so stay tuned…