Philly candidates say campaign ads too costly but necessary

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 Philadelphia Councilman William Greenlee's  campaign spent $200,000 in the final days before the primary election for a multimedia ad blitz. It worked. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Councilman William Greenlee's campaign spent $200,000 in the final days before the primary election for a multimedia ad blitz. It worked. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

How critical is expensive TV advertising in the quest for city political office?  A few Philadelphia candidates addressed that issues in the aftermath of the recent primary elections.

Philadelphia Councilman William Greenlee said his campaign spent $200,000 in the final days of the campaign for at multimedia ad blitz.”If we had the ability to financially, we didn’t want to look back and say, ‘We should have done it, and we didn’t, and it could have cost us,'” he said.For Greenlee, it worked. He won one of the five Democratic at-large nominations. Two of his fellow incumbents were not so fortunate.Jim Kenney, who appears to have the inside track to becoming the city’s next mayor after spending more than a million dollars on his primary campaign, said he isn’t thrilled about the cost of TV time.”I’ve been asked by a network personality why we have to raise so much money,” said Kenney, to which he responded,  “Why? To pay your salary.”

“What it comes down to is we’re paying the networks the money to put us on TV, it they wanted to do a public service, they could reduce the cost of those spots,” he said. “More people could advertise and maybe have a more widespread election.”The candidates do receive a discount on the normal advertising costs, but independent expenditure groups, which played a huge role in the mayor’s race, pay the going ad rates.

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