A campaign finance report filed today with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission indicates The Seattle Times Co. intends to run 21 straight days of political ads to benefit Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna.
The pro-McKenna ads — valued by the newspaper at $75,750 — will run through Elelction Day on Nov. 6, the Times’ campaign finance report shows. The ads range in value from $2,000 to $6,500 over their planned three weeks of publication.
Officials for the newspaper, which previously had endorsed McKenna in an editorial, also announced today the Times will run ads valued at a similar amount supporting Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage ballot measure.
“In recent years, political consultants have not been placing many campaign ads in The Seattle Times, and we think they’re missing out on the most effective way to reach voters in the Puget Sound region,” Alan Fisco, executive vice president, revenue and new products for The Seattle Times said in widely reported statement issued by the newspaper. “We decided to try to tap into this important source of advertising revenue by demonstrating how effective advertising with The Times can be.”
The newspaper unveiled its first pro-McKenna ad today. The full page ad on page B-6 – valued at $5,500 — immediately ignited a storm of criticism among journalism and political experts and other media. The campaign for Democratic governor’s candidate Jay Inslee also harshly criticized the move in a news release that questioned whether the newspaper’s newsroom somehow was involved in the decision-making.
The Times reported that its news staff was not involved in discussions or decisions about the ad.