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SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Ralph Becker is taking his re-election campaign to television.
The Becker for Mayor campaign on Friday secured an $11,660 contract with KSL-TV to broadcast 31 television ads this month.
It's an unusual move for a mayoral race in Utah, said University of Utah political science professor Matthew Burbank.
"Television ads are rare in mayor's elections," Burbank said.
At the same time, it's not too surprising, he said, considering Becker has about $380,000 to spend, according to the latest campaign finance reports. That's at least $300,000 more than challenger Jackie Biskupski has in her war chest.
Municipal candidates typically don't invest in television ads, Burbank said, because while they're far-reaching, they're often watched by many people who aren't engaged in the race.
Burbank said Becker's investment shows he's gearing up to go all-in against Biskupski, who finished more than 15 percent ahead of the incumbent in the primary election.
"If he wasn't worried about the election, he wouldn't be doing this," Burbank said.
Becker's campaign manager, Matt Lyon, declined to disclose Friday how much money is planned for television ads or how many other contracts have been drawn with other TV stations, but he did say the campaign intends to spend most if not all of Becker's funds by the Nov. 3 election.
"We feel we need to tell our story and remind people of the great things that are happening in Salt Lake City and what Ralph has accomplished over the years," Lyon said.
The city's next campaign finance report deadline is a week before the election, Oct. 27.
"We're going to have an aggressive campaign," Lyon said.
Biskupski's campaign manager, Lindsay Barenz, said the campaign has not purchased any television ads. Instead, Biskupski is focusing on a "people-powered," grass-roots campaign, Barenz said.
"We're not concerned about (the ads)," she said, "because we showed in the primary that Jackie's message for change in Salt Lake City is effective when delivered person-to-person, and that's how we're focusing our campaign."
Becker's first KSL-TV ad is scheduled to broadcast Wednesday.