The other horse race in Kentucky
Republicans are focusing on kooky culture war issues to take on Kentucky’s Democratic Governor this fall
A note: Welcome to FWIW! We have a lot of new subscribers this week thanks to becoming a Substack Featured Publication! Here’s what you can expect: (1) The latest data and analysis on political digital ads, (2) a roundup of internet things impacting our politics, and (3) usually just for premium subscribers, a deep dive into a topic or issue you should be paying attention to. Speaking of which…
Kentucky’s most famous horse race is happening tomorrow, as millions of viewers around the world tune in to the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. At the same time, a political horse race is unfolding in the Bluegrass State, with several prominent Republicans facing off in a primary election to take on Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear this November. In this week’s FWIW, we’ll break down how the campaign is playing out online. But first…
By the numbers
FWIW, political advertisers spent $8.5 million on Facebook and Instagram ads last week. These were the top ten spenders nationwide:
President Biden’s re-election campaign spent over $1.06 million on digital advertising last week, making it the largest political advertiser on Facebook and Instagram nationwide. The vast majority of those dollars - around $886,000 - were spent on Facebook and Instagram, where the campaign has run ~1,300 fundraising ads from the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris accounts.
Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) kicked off his campaign for U.S. Senate against Ted “Cancun” Cruz on Wednesday, in what will likely become a very expensive race. Democrats have tried and failed in recent cycles to turn Texas Blue, and any successful effort is going to take a ton of grassroots cash. With that in mind, the Allred campaign launched dozens of digital ads to bring in a huge day-one fundraising haul.
Last night, Allred announced that his campaign raised over $2 million in 36 hours.
Meanwhile, political advertisers spent a limited amount - just over $879,000 - on Google and YouTube ads last week. Here were the top ten spenders nationwide:
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) may not be running for re-election just yet, but one of the Senate Democrats' campaign groups, Senate Majority PAC, is already blanketing West Virginia with these pro-Manchin ads on YouTube. 👀
…and here are the top spending political advertisers on Snapchat year-to-date:
From around the internet
We’ve already shared that YouTube accounts for more TV viewing than any other single network or streaming service. New internal data provided to The Information shows that 45% of YouTube users watch on TVs - further underscoring the platform’s takeover of American living rooms.
A bipartisan group of parents who also happen to be U.S. Senators are coalescing around the idea of banning social media use for children under 13. Read all about it from the AP here >>
This week’s buzzy new app to replace Twitter is called Bluesky. It’s apparently a place where you “skeet” at your friends, and initial reviews seem very good. If you have a spare invite lying around, we’d love for you to send it our way.
According to the NY Times, drama has unfolded around a Republican fundraising tech platform’s plan to charge higher fees. The software company WinRed proposed levying a 30-cent transaction fee on every donation Republicans make in 2024, and party leaders aren’t happy.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) marked “Star Wars Day” yesterday with an AI-generated image of the Congressman as a Jedi, meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes became Acting Governor and issued a proclamation for May 4th.
For years, Republicans have tried to own the concept of “freedom” and “liberty” in their campaign messaging. With the party heading in a more authoritarian direction, Dan Pfeiffer argues that Democrats have an opportunity to reclaim “freedom”- and President Biden’s campaign is already taking it.
The White House threw some shade at Facebook this week.
FWIW, here’s how much money likely or confirmed 2024 presidential candidates have spent on Facebook + Google ads to date (1/1 - 4/29):
Glenn Youngkin is supposedly not running for president this year. Or is he?
Donald Trump’s super PAC “MAGA Inc” is running ads on Roku devices attacking DeSantis on Medicare & Social Security. MAGA Inc has spent an insane amount of money - $9.5 million - in the past month attacking Ron DeSantis.
Mike Pence is getting a new super PAC. Let’s hope Mother approves.
The other horse race in Kentucky
Kentucky’s most famous horse race is happening tomorrow, as millions of viewers around the world tune in to the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. At the same time, a political horse race is unfolding in the Bluegrass State, with several prominent Republicans facing off in a primary election to take on Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear this November.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to FWIW to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.