Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has decided that free media alone will not be enough to win the 2016 election.
Trump’s campaign said Friday it will spend $4.8 million on television ads during the next 10 days in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida—states key to his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
The move follows a string of discouraging polls for Trump. In addition to the ads, he’s responded with an overhaul of his campaign leadership and with a rare expression of “regret” for his harsh rhetoric at a campaign rally Thursday in North Carolina.
In the first ad the campaign released, Trump and Clinton are contrasted on immigration, border security, and Syrian refugees.
“In Hillary Clinton’s America, the system stays rigged against Americans,” a male narrator says in the 30-second spot. “Syrian refugees flood in. Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay, collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line.”
“Donald Trump’s America is secure,” the narrator says.
Almost all of the buy, $4 million, is on broadcast television, according to Kantar Media/CMAG data reviewed Thursday by Bloomberg Politics ad analyst Ken Goldstein. Additional spending expected to reach $900,000 is earmarked for cable, Goldstein said, citing a media buyer familiar with Trump’s plans.
Clinton and her allied super-PACs spent heavily on television advertising during the Olympic games, and won’t cede the airwaves to Trump in his upcoming flight, which the Republican’s campaign said would include more ads besides the one released Friday.
Clinton is slated to spend $17 million during the period, according to Goldstein, and the pro-Clinton super-PAC Priorities USA has committed $5 million during roughly the identical time period in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nebraska.
“No misleading ad can change the fact that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with the experience and judgment to lead the country and keep our families safe,” Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in a statement responding to Trump’s commercial.
Prior to the Trump campaign’s announcement, Goldstein said the Republican’s first ad could be expected to generate major scrutiny.
“It’s an ad that a lot of people are going to be talking about,” said Goldstein, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. “She will outspend him roughly 4-to-1 over the next couple of weeks. But what you have to ask yourself is, given the amount of free media this ad will attract, is which ads will end up getting more attention?”
Trump and Clinton by Saturday must report their July campaign-finance activity to the Federal Election Commission. Those reports will give more details about how they’re spending their campaigns’ money. Trump raised $80 million for his bid and for party entities in July, his campaign said, while Clinton claimed to raise almost $90 million.