Political Insider

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Cagle makes a monster ad buy in Georgia gov race 

He is looking to make a statement in crowded GOP primary

Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle shelled out $4.4 million for six weeks of TV ads to boost his campaign for governor, enough cash to flood the airwaves ahead of the crowded GOP primary.

Cagle’s campaign said Friday the ad buys include broadcast TV purchases in markets across the state - Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah - as well as radio, cable and satellite spots.

The ad buy comes after two of his Republican opponents launched their own ad salvos featuring Cagle lookalikes. 

Business executive Clay Tippins, a first-time candidate, put $250,000 behind his 60-second spot on Super Bowl Sunday, complete with a Cagle impersonator dressed in powder-blue tux. And former state Sen. Hunter Hill put nearly $400,000 into an ad days later that showed a Cagle doppelganger flailing in an obstacle course. 

His two other Republican opponents - Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sen. Michael Williams - have yet to go on air. Neither have the two Democrats in the race, former state lawmakers Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans.

With nearly $7 million in campaign funds, Cagle can afford to pump up his campaign this early. His $3.2 million in broadcast buys feature spots in sports, primetime, local and network news as well as syndicated shows such as Wheel of Fortune and The View.

In all, the campaign’s purchases will deliver more than 6,000 gross ratings points. 

The statewide buys include about $175,000 conservative talk radio ads and $465,000 on Fox News. The campaign is shelling out roughly $360,000 in smaller cable buys on ESPN, History Channel and HGTV. Another $215,000 is devoted to targeted buys in Dish and DirecTV households.

More help may be on the way. A third-party group backing Cagle this week reserved hundreds of thousands of dollars in airtime in markets across Georgia. 

More recent AJC coverage of the Georgia governor’s race:

More: Abrams pledges to eliminate cash bail system, decriminalize some marijuana offenses 

More: A peek behind Abrams’ ground-game machine

More: Georgia candidate faces accusations of conspiracy in CEO’s ouster 

More: The race for Georgia governor is a nearly $20 million contest

More: Why Georgia Democrats are zeroing in on Atlanta’s suburbs 

More: Georgia conservatives fear a Trump betrayal on immigration 

More: How far Georgia will go to snare Amazon remains a mystery 

More: Bid for Amazon becomes a prime issue in gov race

More: A cutting new fight over paper ballots erupts in Georgia gov race  


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.