Trump campaign shifts Florida ad spend burden to RNC

Gregory Korte and Mario Parker

Correction: This story has been updated to include context that was missing from an earlier version on additional spending planned by the Republican National Committee on President Donald Trump’s behalf.

President Donald Trump’s campaign has slashed its advertising budget in Florida, relying on the Republican National Committee to carry the message there as it moves resources to the industrial northern states that carried him to victory in 2016.

Since Labor Day, Trump has cut $24 million from his national ad budget, while former Vice President Joe Biden has added $197 million. Biden has outspent Trump three-to-one over that time nationally.

The president’s campaign still has $350,275 budgeted to spend on ads in Florida through Election Day, but has canceled $5.5 million in the final two weeks of the campaign, according to data compiled from ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics.

The RNC is picking up some of that slack, buying $4 million in ads beginning last week. It’s now airing an ad in Florida attacking Biden on Medicare, falsely claiming that the Biden health care plan would eliminate private health insurance.

By comparison, Biden has booked $16.7 million in ads in Florida for the last 15 days of the campaign, compared with $4.3 million for Trump and the RNC, according to Advertising Analytics.

The Trump campaign says its organizational strength in Florida will carry it into Trump’s column on Election Night as Republicans get more in-person voters to the polls.

Ground Game

“You have to have a ground game. Joe Biden does not have one. The president does,” Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a phone call with reporters Tuesday. “That’s why you saw the president close the gap in Florida.”

Kaelan Dorr, the Trump campaign’s chief marketing officer, said the campaign is spending six figures in Spanish language ads, six figures on cable and six figures on radio in Florida.

“Our TV budget in the state has remained consistent week by week. We have invested seven figures in the state this week alone. We’re up 4 points in polls, we’re up consistently and we kind of look forward to celebrating with the people on November,” Dorr said.

The RNC, however, is now paying for those ads.

Biden and Trump are effectively tied in the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the state.

About 312,000 more registered Republicans have voted in person in Florida than registered Democrats since early voting began a week ago. But Democrats lead by more than 615,000 votes in mail-in voting, according to the U.S. Elections Project, giving Democrats a 41.8% to 37.1% overall advantage.

“Florida is going to go the president’s way,” Murtaugh said.

The Biden campaign has added $41 million to its ad budget in the home stretch, pouring more money into every battleground state except Texas. Through Election Day, the campaign has budgeted $8.3 million in Florida, $7.1 million in Pennsylvania, $5.3 million in Michigan and $4.9 million in North Carolina.

In the final week, Biden is set to outspend Trump in every battleground state except for Minnesota and Ohio, where Biden still maintains an overall advantage.

2020 Bloomberg L.P.