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What TV Ads in Tuesday’s Elections Have Shown Voters


Tens of millions of dollars have poured into television advertising in the four states with major elections on Tuesday, a sign of the national implications of their outcomes.

Whether they are about state legislators in Virginia, a constitutional amendment in Ohio, or candidates for governor in Kentucky and Mississippi, the ads share a few themes.

Threats to abortion rights are prominent in ads for Democrats, even in states where the issue isn’t explicitly on the ballot. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, Democrats have found electoral success in galvanizing opposition to restrictive abortion laws.

Advertisements for Republican candidates, in turn, often hitch the Democrats to President Biden’s record, as well as to inflation, taxes and prevailing economic uncertainty. And if Republican candidates have been endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, it is a good bet that will show up in their ads.

Some ads have featured pointed attacks, with accusations of racism, socialism and grift. But in the closest-fought races, some candidates have sought to find a middle ground — Democrats citing their gun ownership, or Republicans saying they want to protect women’s rights.

Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and committees supporting him have spent $46.9 million on advertising entering the election, according to AdImpact’s analysis, far exceeding the $28.6 million spent in support of his Republican opponent, Daniel Cameron, the state’s attorney general.

Nearly all of that spending has come from two entities — Mr. Beshear’s campaign and Defending Bluegrass Values, a committee backed by the Democratic Governors Association — each of which have spent more than $23 million.

Ads supporting Mr. Beshear have focused on two major themes: hammering Republicans for their opposition to abortion rights, and Mr. Beshear’s record on infrastructure and economic growth. The ads have steered clear of mentioning Mr. Biden, who has low approval ratings nationally and especially in heavily conservative Kentucky.

Mr. Cameron’s campaign ads have painted the popular Mr. Beshear as an ally of Mr. Biden, caving to the left on crime, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and schools. Ads supporting him, many of which are linked to national organizations, including the Republican Governors Association, have heavily featured Mr. Trump’s endorsement of Mr. Cameron (which also includes digs at Mr. Biden).


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