By Ava Wilhite
Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) - Political ads are beginning to hit the airwaves as 19 candidates are tossing their hats in the race to fill now Sen. Tim Scott's seat in Congress.
"Right now we are seeing the classic get to know the candidate ads on that introduces voters to the candidates and tells you a little bit about their biography. It will include where they are from what their basic principles are, but I suspect pretty soon we're going to move from positive to negative ads," said Gibbs Knotts, Chair of the Political Science department at the College of Charleston.
Knotts said in 2012, $3 billion was spent on political ads including house and senate level races.
"One study found if a candidate ran 1,000 more ads than the person they are running against, it equaled out to be half a percentage point in the actual vote total," said Knotts.
Knotts said ads are effective, especially the negative ones.
"Folks here in the First Congressional District talk about not liking negative ads, but the reason we see them so much is they tend to work," said Knotts.
Knotts said the negative ads make the voters seek out more information about the candidate. He said in race with 19 candidates, 16 of them from one party, candidates will have to be specific on big issues like where they plan to cut spending in Washington.
"It looks like 16 Republicans running and so a lot of anti-Obama, a lot of talk about the deficit and a lot of talking about spending. It's big talk in Washington and I think it will be a big discussion point here in the first district," said Knotts.
Knotts said voters can expect to see more ads from candidates who are willing spend lots of money to help them get to Washington.
"It's well over a million dollars to run a successful congressional campaign and I wouldn't expect it to be any different. Charleston has many TV stations, it's a media market, and you can spend some money very quickly. It will be a good boost for the local economy," said Knotts.
The special election primary will be held on March 19. The election is May 7.