Politicians bet on TV to send message to voters

HARLINGEN — Most people watch television daily, and candidates were betting on it to send voters their message to give them an edge in the primary.

Cameron County judge and district attorney races were neck-and-neck, and some of those candidates bought television advertisements and others didn’t.

“Television is very expensive unless you have an unlimited budget,” said Carlos Masso. “It’s important to have a marketing plan for the campaign and it includes television to reach the audience who don’t read the newspaper.”

Masso lost his bid for Cameron County district attorney to incumbent Luis Saenz.

“We put a few ads in each channel,” Masso said. “Some people like to watch Channel 4, some people like to watch Channel 5.”

Masso’s opponent did not buy any television from the top news channels.

“What I spent on TV ads is based on the contributions that I received,” Masso said. “I think the expense is justified.”

Masso spent $14,598 for 43 spots.

He called the spending in the Cameron County races peanuts compared the Hidalgo County political races.

The top race in Hidalgo was the congressional district 15 seat left open by Ruben Hinojosa.

Of the five candidates in the race to be Hinojosa’s successor only two candidates bought television advertisements.

Vicente Gonzalez won that race. The seat has only been filled by seven men since 1903.

It cost Gonzalez, as he spent $103,058 between all three Valley English channels for a total of 404 spots.

Advertising on TV takes big bucks and when political season comes around it can work wonders to get a message to voters.

For some candidates it’s a must and for others, well, it can be too expensive.

Of the three Valley channels, KRGV 5, KGBT 4 and KVEO 23, each sold spots to candidates at all levels.

Some candidates focused their advertising dollars with one channel and others with all three.

Television adversements mattered to Dan Sanchez. In his bid for Cameron County judge he spent $23,670 for 69 spots of advertising. His opponents didn’t get any TV ads on KVEO, KGBT, or KRGV.

Hillary Clinton bought spots on all three Valley stations.

Hillary for 2016 got a bang for her buck. Her campaign took out $110,735 worth of ads in the Valley on all three stations for 333 spots from the time early voting started and into the primary election.

Her opponents in the Democratic Party focused on other media markets.

Donald Trump spent a substantial amount in the Valley between the three stations with $56,770 for 156 spots. The only otherRepublican presidential candidate to advertise in the Valley was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. He spent $21,300 with KVEO 23.

Cruz won Texas and Trump didn’t, so television isn’t always the answer to winning a political race.