Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Ads for Palm Springs Congressional race flood LA airwaves

Raul Ruiz and Mary Bono-Mack

KPCC and Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Republican incumbent Mary Bono-Mack and her Democratic opponent, Raul Ruiz, have been buying ad time in both the Palm Springs and L.A. TV markets.

Seen enough political ads? The glut has been added to by a Congressional candidate who is running TV spots in L.A. — far away from her Coachella Valley district. 

You’d expect ads from Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack to show up on TV stations in Palm Springs — the heart of her district. But they’re also showing up on L.A. stations, where the cost of a commercial is anywhere from five to ten times as expensive.

Alison Hendrix, general sales manager at Palm Springs station KMIR, says this has been the busiest — and most expensive — political ad season in her memory.  But she says her station didn't sell all its available airtime. TV stations, Hendrix says, are "like the airline industry" —  there's always a spot available for someone willing to pay the price.

But the Bono Mack campaign decided to spend their extra money on TV ads in L.A.

There are a couple of reasons behind the strategy. A third of the district — which includes Hemet, Beaumont, and San Jacinto — is outside the Palm Springs TV area. And many cable systems in the Coachella Valley include L.A. stations.

Patrick Bonsignore, a Democratic media consultant with Devine Mulvey, says you can read the voter tea leaves by noticing when the ads run. In Bono Mack’s case, he says the campaign is targeting women through “The View,” and adults 35 or older who watch “Good Morning America.”

USC Public Relations Professor Jennifer Floto says there’s another reason L.A. is seeing those Bono Mack ads: Palm Springs is a second home for many people who live in L.A.

Bono Mack’s opponent, Raul Ruiz, has also jumped into the larger market, just this week buying ads on L.A. stations' news programs. The race is considered a toss-up.

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