Here’s a fall TV preview the networks aren’t yet airing: nonstop political commercials.
Candidates for federal office are rushing to meet Sunday’s deadline for filing their latest quarterly campaign finance reports, but it’s clear from numbers that have already leaked out that everyone is going to have a lot of money to spend on television commercials.
That is likely to mean shortened newscasts and fewer soap commercials as the Boston broadcasters accommodate candidates’ ads.
Mitt Romney said he raised $106 million in June alone, leaving him, the Republican National Committee, and a joint fund-raising committee known as the Romney Victory fund with $160 million.
President Obama’s campaign committee said it raised $71 million, but it did not reveal cash on hand for it and its Democratic affiliates. Yet they closed May with $109 million.
Super PACs supporting both candidates are also awash in money, though pro-Romney forces have far more than those backing Obama. Those kitties will fuel almost entirely negative ad campaigns as they try to sway voters in New Hampshire, a swing state partly covered by the Boston TV market.
The Massachusetts Senate race between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democrat Elizabeth Warren also promises to be a boon for local broadcasters, as do several US House races.
Warren reported raising $8.7 million between March and June, leaving her with $13.5 million . Brown said he raised around $5 million, leaving him with $15.5 million.
Even if fund-raising stopped — and it hasn’t — that gives the two candidates $29 million to spend over the next four months.
The more likely scenario, though, is that the heaviest spending will occur after Labor Day, once prospective voters return from summer vacation and send their kids back to school. By then, there will be just two months until Election Day — a small window for all the candidates to spend big sums of cash.
During an interview with CNN that aired last week, Warren was hit with a now-familiar question: Does she want to claim the label “minority” after saying that she has Native American heritage.
“Nope,” Warren replied. “This is part of who I am. This is who I am.”
The political problem for Warren is that for nine years, she did just that.
From 1986 through 1995, Warren’s name appeared on a list of minority teachers included in The Association of American Law Schools desk book.
Professors themselves provide such data.
When the story first broke in May, Warren released statements from the law schools where she has worked, stating that she was hired based on merit, not any personal claim of ethnic heritage.
But Warren has also been reluctant to label herself a minority when questioned by reporters.
When the Globe interviewed her on May 2, she was asked if she considered herself a minority.
“Native American is part of my family. It’s an important part of my heritage,” she said.
When the reporter circled back to the question, Warren interrupted to say, “This is part of my heritage. Being Native American is part of my family. It’s part of my family stories. It’s part of my heritage.”
Ten weeks later, she’s still answering the question in an indirect fashion.
The CNN interview also produced a measure of heartburn for Brown.
The senator said, among other things, that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls him seeking his vote “all the time.”
Yet when Brown’s staff was asked about that claim, they confirmed that the secretary and the senator have spoken by phone just twice — most recently more than a year ago.
On Friday, after a campaign event in South Boston, a TV reporter asked Brown if he had become prone to embellishment.
“Listen, this is an election year. I get it. I get that there’s going to be a lot of gotcha politics,” the senator said.
But Brown then made a comment that contradicted his claim to CNN: He suggested the Democrats in the Obama administration had reduced their communication with him for political reasons.
“I do work with the administration and have spoken to the individuals I referenced,” he said. “I won’t say that I’m not disappointed right now, because the conversations have gotten fewer and fewer because of the gridlock down there. They’re in full campaign mode.”