This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It has become very difficult to avoid the presidential candidates, even for those Utahns far more interested in the NCAA basketball tournament than the political rallies.
That's because the campaigns and a handful of outside groups have bought more than $1.5 million in TV ads, a one-week blast that is unprecedented in the Beehive State.
That total, cobbled together through required federal filings, counts only the ads bought on the four major broadcast channels, which are expected to air more than 2,300 times. It doesn't include the spots running on cable, or the radio ads, which would push that total even higher.
It will all end Tuesday evening, when voters will make their preferences known in caucus meetings held throughout the state.
The campaigns and outside groups have spent more than $700,000 for ads on KUTV alone. This CBS affiliate is the most-watched news station in Utah and the one hosting the March Madness tourney.
There's an ad from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign that shows Utah Sen. Mike Lee endorsing him. There's Democrat Bernie Sanders promising to protect Social Security benefits. And there are clips of Mitt Romney's speech in Utah ripping apart GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
While Utah may be a conservative state, no candidate has outspent Sanders on broadcast ads. His $314,600 in advertising is just one part of his push to claim the bulk of Utah's 37 Democratic delegates. He also appeared at a rally before 14,000 people on Friday, and he has another planned at West High on Monday afternoon.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, is the only candidate who didn't buy any ads, nor is she planning to visit the state.
The only sustained negative advertising in Utah is aimed at Trump, where the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative group, and the new Our Principles PAC, which has ties to Romney, have spent a combined $390,700 in advertising.
Trump has countered with $130,600 in his own spots.
Both Cruz, who is leading in Utah according to a recent poll, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have not only bought their own ads, but a super PAC supporting them has also weighed in.
Utahns have seen heavy political ad blitzes for local races, such as Rep. Mia Love's victory over Democrat Doug Owens in 2014, but not for presidential contests.
The local stations received no advertising dollars in the battle between Romney and President Barack Obama in 2012, but in that year, Utah held a primary after each man wrapped up his party's nomination.