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Illinois Among Tops In U.S. For Campaign Ad Spending

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If it seems as though the number of political ads on television has ramped up markedly this election, now there's concrete proof.  

Illinois has seen a roughly 30 percent increase in the number of TV ads and the money spent to air them this election cycle compared to four years ago, according to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity. That jump has been fueled by a neck-and-neck contest for governor pitting wealthy Republican Bruce Rauner against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.  

The review found candidates for Illinois offices spent more than $26.4 million to air an estimated 34,589 ads between Jan. 1, 2013 and Sept. 8 of this year. That's up from about $20.5 million for an estimated 26,554 ads during roughly the same time period in 2010.  

The analysis includes only the cost of TV airtime, not expenses associated with producing the ads. It doesn't include spending for local cable TV advertising, or for radio or the internet, so the total spending on political ads can be significantly higher.  

Illinois ranks fourth in the nation for total TV ad spending this election, behind Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida.  

The increase comes even as spending nationwide decreased by about 45 percent compared with 2010. That year, more than half of the spending on TV ads occurred between mid-September and Election Day _ a sign that in Illinois, the air wars could just be getting started. 

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