Travis Ridout
Travis Ridout

In the heaviest advertising month yet during the 2016 presidential campaign, non-candidate groups such as super PACs and politically active nonprofits have dominated the airwaves. The October ad data represents a dramatic outsourcing of presidential campaign messaging. Not even during the 2012 Republican primaries, when super PACs first began supporting presidential hopefuls, did candidate campaigns so completely cede their paid TV messaging to proxy groups.

“They have to turn to super PACs to bail them out,” said Washington State University’s Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks political advertising. Candidates who may only raise money in limited increments can conserve precious resources at a time when more than a dozen semi-viable Republican candidates are competing against one another.

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