February 29, 2016
Thanks to a GOP decision not to hold a straw poll, making the Republican presidential caucus on Super Tuesday a virtual nonevent, the political air war in Colorado has largely looked like it’s Bernie versus Hillary, with Sanders running about three ads to every one of Clinton’s, according to data collected by the Political TV Ad Archive.
One Sanders ad stands out among the now familiar fare on the economy recycled from earlier state contests: this ad focusing on the environment. “Bernie Sanders, the courage to stand up to big oil,” says the narrator, going on to point out the senator’s opposition to the Keystone pipeline and to fracking, an issue fraught with controversy in Colorado. The ad, which has aired about 160 times in the Denver and Colorado Springs markets, has not been captured airing in other other key primary states tracked by the Political TV Ad Archive. However, according to the Bernie 2016 campaign website, the ad is also airing in Minnesota, which the project is not tracking.
Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, has focused on an ad that has aired broadly elsewhere that emphasizes her experience, airing it more than 500 times in Colorado markets. But she also has aired this ad about 100 times focusing on immigration. In the ad, Clinton tells a little girl worried about her parents being deported that she shouldn’t worry. The footage is labeled as being taped in Las Vegas in mid-February, and the ad aired in Nevada in the days leading up to the contest there, which Clinton won. Colorado’s Latino bloc has long been a part of the Democratic playbook in Colorado.
As of last week, Sanders was leading Clinton on political ad spending in Colorado, $1.6 million to $748,000, according this analysis by Sandra Fish for Colorado Public Radio based on filings with the Federal Communications Commission.