Biden campaign plans red-state media blitz

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign plans to expand its advertising footprint into traditionally red states in the final 90 days before the election, reserving airtime in Texas, Ohio, Iowa and Georgia in an effort to capitalize on polls showing President Trump performing poorly in states he won in 2016.

Senior aides to Biden say the campaign has laid down $280 million in paid television and digital media reservations across 15 states for between now and Nov. 3. Aides say the $220 million in television reservations and $60 million digital pieces are the largest in electoral history.

The Biden campaign will continue running ads in the six core battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona and Florida.

They’ve also made reservations in states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, including Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado and Virginia.

But Biden’s aides say the campaign has the freedom to move into GOP strongholds, as polls show him leading in key battleground states and competitive in states that Trump won easily in 2016.

Part of that strategy includes a sizable investment in a national ad campaign they believe will maximize the number of pathways Biden has to 270 Electoral College votes.

“We’re really building a strategy that allows for that expanded map and to be on offense,” said campaign manager Jennifer O’Malley Dillon.

The Biden campaign declined to say how much it planned to invest in each state.

The $280 million in reservations can still be canceled or moved around, so the Biden campaign is not locked into competing in the traditionally red states.

The Trump campaign has mockingly encouraged the Biden campaign to spend money in Texas and Georgia, which have not gone blue in decades. The Trump campaign went up this week with ads in Georgia but they have not spent money in Texas.

The Trump campaign has also spent a small amount on the airwaves in Iowa and Ohio. The president easily won both states in 2016, but polls show a tight contest heading into the stretch run.

The Trump campaign had been off airwaves in recent days, taking a break to reassess their strategy under new campaign manager Bill Stepien.

The Trump campaign went back on the air this week with ad buys in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona, as well as with a national cable ad buy. The Trump campaign did not reveal the size of its ad buys, but the Biden campaign said it was for $145 million.

The Trump campaign insists it has opportunities to go on offense in Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire and Maine, but the campaign has not spent much, if at all, on the airwaves in those states so far.

Instead, Trump is mostly on defense after effectively running the table in the battleground states in 2016.

Biden’s aides did not reveal the content they plan to run but said many of the ads would be 60 seconds long to allow for a “fuller, clearer sense of who the vice president is and the message he’s carrying.”

Many of the ads will feature Biden in his own words, either speaking directly to the camera or giving a speech.

The ads will cast Biden as a compassionate leader and a steady hand ready to take over the government during a time of public health and economic crises. They will attack Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and make the case that the nation needs a change in leadership.

“We think it’s important people hear him because it goes to the issue of leadership and a kind of reassuring presence we believe the public sees in Joe Biden,” said Mike Donilon, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign.

The digital ads will run on in-demand video sites such as Hulu, YouTube and ESPN, as well as online gaming sites that have exploded in popularity during the coronavirus lockdown.

The overall ad strategy will focus heavily on black voters, with airtime reserved on BET, TV1, Bounce and OWN, as well as on local outlets that are popular among African Americans.

The campaign also touted its “unprecedented investment” in Latino media, with English and Spanish language content to run on Univision, Mitu, Pandora and Vevo.

“We first went up on African American and Latino media on June 19,” said Biden campaign adviser Symone Sanders. “Oftentimes, we hear so much how campaigns wait six to eight weeks out from Election Day to start communicating to African American and Latino voters, but we’ve been clear that African American and Latino voters are a key part of our general election strategy.”

In addition, the Biden campaign is planning ads aimed at the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, young people and seniors.

Tags 2020 ads Donald Trump Election Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Symone Sanders
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