Trump campaign halts new ad buys in Michigan

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE’s reelection campaign has halted new ad buys in Michigan in recent days as polling shows former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' MORE, the presumptive Democratic nominee, with a widening lead in the state. 

Trump’s recent withdrawal from the airwaves in Michigan came as his campaign shifted advertising dollars to other battlegrounds like Iowa. The move was first reported on Wednesday by The New York Times. According to the Times’s report, Biden has more than tripled Trump’s TV ad spending in Michigan over the last month.

A spokesperson for the Trump campaign pointed out that the president still has massive amounts of airtime reserved in Michigan and remains confident in his prospects there. Indeed, the campaign has $11.4 million in television ads reserved beginning in September, and national buys mean that some of the president’s ads will still air in the state.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Biden can continue to spend a million a week there if he wants to,” the spokesperson said in an email. 

Laura Cox, the chair of the Michigan GOP, said that the Trump campaign has already "made unprecedented financial investments" in the state that had put Republicans on the path to victory there.

“The Trump Campaign and the RNC have made unprecedented financial investments in Michigan already this cycle and thanks to their efforts, the Michigan Republican Party has built the most robust and sophisticated ground operation the state has ever seen," Cox said in a statement.

"We are confident that the president’s major commitment to Michigan will lead to victory in the Great Lakes State this November - just as it did in 2016.”

Still, the Trump campaign’s decision to shift ad spending away from Michigan comes amid signs that the state may no longer be the battleground that both parties had once thought it would be in 2020, especially given Trump’s narrow 10,000-vote win there four years ago.

Nearly every public survey out of Michigan in recent months shows Biden with a significant lead over Trump, and he currently holds an 8-point advantage in the most recent FiveThirtyEight polling average.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, currently has Michigan in its “Lean Democrat” column. 

Beyond polling, however, Trump has often put himself at odds with Michigan state officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D). 

In May, he threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan after Benson announced that the state would send mail-in ballot applications to all of its registered voters. And he has been particularly critical of Whitmer for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in her state.

Trump is also facing headwinds in other battleground states, including his adopted home state of Florida, which the Cook Political Report moved into the Lean Democrat column on Tuesday. 

--Updated at 2:17 p.m.