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Gray Television (GTN) Chairman and CEO Hilton Howell, Jr., summed up the experience of the 2016 elections for many TV station owners during the broadcaster's third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

"You can't get blood from a Trump," Howell told investors.

The 2016 campaign had blockbuster potential, with a contentious Presidential race between two divisive candidates, the Senate in the balance and the Supreme Court up for grabs. Many broadcasters have benefited from tight down-ticket races, but diminished spending by the Presidential candidates has dampened the quadrennial payday for station owners such as Gray and E.W. Scripps (SSP) . Others, like Nexstar (NXST) , which also reported Tuesday, and CBS (CBS) still posted gains from the mudslinging.

Shares of Atlanta-based Gray fell 80 cents, or 9.8%, to $7.40 on Tuesday afternoon. The company's earnings per share of 26 cents for the quarter were well off forecasts of 39 cents, according to FactSet.

Gray expected to at least match the $144 million in political ads from the last Presidential cycle in 2012. With sharp declines in spending in Colorado, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin and Virginia contests, Gray now forecasts $91.8 million to $92.8 million in 2016 political spending.

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