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The Texas Senate Money Race, In Two Videos
A still from senate candidate Ted Cruz's web video. While online videos may seem to level the playing field between richer and poorer campaigns, differences still exist.

Folks in Texas have heard of the mythical "swing state." We're just not in a part of the country where two parties compete in the Presidential and state elections.

The state's Republican dominance often leads to races with a well-funded Republican up against a Democrat struggling to scrape together cash. That's especially the case in statewide races … where Democrats talk more about successful runs in 2020 than 2012.

This year's illustration of this scenario is the U.S. Senate race betweenRepublican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler.

Cruz has raised millions in his bid for the senate. Sadler has raied less than $200,000.

So in a state that can cost between $1.5 and 2 million to advertise statewide, TV ads are pretty much out of the question for Sadler. But it doesn't cost much to put together a nice looking web site, so anyone searching for Sadler will find a site that looks as nice as the Cruz's page. But other, more costly web campaign tools don't measure up.

Take a look at the web ads created by the two. Now web ads are much cheaper than a TV or radio ad, and the payoff if an ad goes viral can be big. But you can definitely tell a production difference.

Here's two recent posts from the two campaigns. (Cruz's ad ran during the GOP primary. He hasn't launched an ad against Sadler – yet another example of his expected win in November.)

Owing to Texas' Republican trends, you'll have to watch cable news or a national football match to find political ads for contested races. Considering the barrage of commercials in the swing states, most people are probably glad to avoid it. So candidates are increasingly turning attention to the web to generate viral traffic. 

But is it good that Texas, the country's second most populous state, isn't involved in the national discussion because everyone already knows how the state will vote?

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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