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Romney Leads Pack ... in Spot Buys

Republican and former Massachusetts Gov.

Mitt Romney

, who is spending millions of dollars of his own money, is the presidential campaign's biggest user of media time this year, according to Nielsen, but after that, the list turns very blue.

For the period beginning Jan. 1 and ending in early November, Romney placed a whopping 17,849 TV and radio spots, almost four times as many as all of the other Republicans in the race combined (4,488).

The vast majority of Romney's ads were local TV spots, at 16,876, with radio getting 676 and national cable 297. He was by far the largest and almost the only spender in that cable category, with the only other candidates making national cable buys Republican and former Sen. Fred Thompson (Tenn.) (43 spots) -- who also has a show on national cable, Law & Order -- and Democrat Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), with four spots.

In distant second in total spending was Democrat Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) with 10,311 total spots, with almost all of them local TV (10,217), followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) at 7,839, with all but 16 of those local TV.

The next three spots are all Democrats, as well: former Texas Gov. Bill Richardson with 7,305 (161 of which were radio); Dodd at 4,064 (no radio); and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) at 2,642 (no radio).

Republicans reappear in the No. 7 spot with Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), who raised a bunch of money online, at 1,454, with the majority of those radio (909). Thompson is next with 1,111 spots, none radio; Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with 945, all local TV; and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani with 881, almost all radio (765). Democrat Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) slips in next with 681, all local TV, followed by Republicans Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) with 88 local TV spots and Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) with nine radio spots.

Notably absent from the list was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has outpolled Romney without a single spot, although he began running ads Nov. 26, according to Nielsen.