Every entertainment magazine and website this side of Pyongyang is hyping new TV series debuting this fall, from CBS' Hawaii 5-0 reboot to AMC's zombie epic, The Walking Dead. Keeping with form, we took a trip down to our local cable-system headquarters (Cox and Time-Warner sell advertising together under a joint agreement) to find out what's in store for political advertising.
We issue a blossom for every $1,000 a campaign spends over what's spent by its opponents:
• Supporters of Prop. 20 (a proposal that would remove politicians from the process of redrawing congressional district boundaries and hand it over to the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission created by Prop. 11 in 2008) have plunked down $121,180 to run ads on almost every major cable station in the San Diego market through Election Day, with special emphasis on football games. We didn't find any spending records for Prop. 27, the opposing bill on this year's ballot, and so we award a 121 buttercups to Charles Munger, the billionaire behind Yes on 20 / No on 27.
• Sen. Barbara Boxer has ordered $130,000 worth of cable advertising in San Diego County this fall, about double that of her Republican opponent, Carly Fiorina, who has invested only $67,000. Boxer picked Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN as a specific target but will also be running ads on Comedy Central, Family Channel, Food Network and FX. Meanwhile, Fiorina's ads will run on TNT, USA and FX. That's 63 blue bonnets to Boxer.
• So far for the general election, the Republican nominee for governor, Meg Whitman, has put in $260,000 for cable ads in San Diego, targeting news stations, Padres games and networks geared toward female viewers, such as Lifetime and Oxygen. Cox media sales manager Dennis Bauer says the data indicates that Whitman's been cutting back on television spending.
“We thought she would be spending more at this point,” Bauer says. “We thought she would be unleashing all heck on the market.”
Her Democratic opponent, attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown, isn't far behind. The union-funded committee California Working Families for Jerry Brown has dropped $170,000 on cable advertising in San Diego since June, and Brown's campaign contributed another $14,000 just for September. We're holding Whitman's 76 gardenias in escrow, because Brown hasn't yet purchased any cable ads for October or November.
Joe Ryan, an independent candidate running against U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter in East County's 52nd District, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 10 against San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ryan's main beef is with Prop. 14, which voters passed in June to create an “open primary” system where all the candidates run against each other and only the two top vote-getters move on to the general election. Ryan is mad because it doesn't allow independent candidates to represent themselves with an “I” on the ballot. Instead, they appear as “NP,” or “No Party.”
Aside from his Prop. 14 complaint, some of Ryan rhetoric is a tad paranoid.
“Although Joe Ryan was a relatively unknown politician in 2008, and even though he remains relatively unknown to most people residing in the 52nd district, his presence in the political arena is not appreciated by a large number of people who work for various branches of the State and Federal governments,” he writes in his brief.
Ryan identifies a conspiracy perpetrated by District attorney Bonnie Dumanis, local chambers of commerce, the Grossmont Cuyamaca Community College District, the San Diego Superior Court, the IRS, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and the media. He also says the Department of Justice (DOJ) rejected his case because it only protects the voting rights of people who are “Blacks and Jewish.”
There might be something to this conspiracy theory: On Monday, the DOJ's inspector general announced that he will investigate whether the DOJ's Voting Section properly enforced “civil rights laws in a non-discriminatory manner.”
We're going to issue neither turds nor blossoms for this because we predict it will have exactly zero impact whatsoever on the race.