With Cash Windfall, Biden Expands Media Ads to Iowa and Other GOP- Leaning States

Politics

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about climate change and wildfires affecting western states, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ATLANTA (AP) — Joe Biden is using a campaign cash advantage over President Donald Trump to add Republican-leaning Georgia and Iowa to his paid media footprint, bringing the Democratic challenger’s television and digital battleground map to an even dozen states.

The expansion reflects Biden’s newfound status as a fundraising behemoth and his campaign’s longstanding promise to set up “multiple paths” to the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.

The Biden campaign confirmed Sunday that Democrats’ joint financial operation had $466 million cash on hand to begin September; Trump and the GOP had $325 million. Biden and the Democratic National Committee had earlier reported raising almost $365 million in August, outpacing Trump and the Republican National Committee by more than $150 million.

The figures do not include a fundraising windfall for Democrats since Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday evening. In the first 24 hours after the liberal icon’s death became public, donors chipped in $71 million through ActBlue, the party’s online fundraising platform, even as Republicans promised a swift confirmation of a successor.

The Biden campaign did not disclose exact spending plans in Georgia and Iowa, but described a significant commitment. In his 2016 election win, Trump won the two states by 5.1 and 9.4 percentage points, respectively, and Republicans have maintained a campaign presence there, leaving the president’s team confident of repeat victories.

Biden now is advertising in 10 states Trump won in 2016, also including Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden is also advertising in two states, Minnesota and Nevada, that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Both are prime targets for Trump. The president believes he can make gains among white voters in Minnesota and Latinos in Nevada.

There are practically no scenarios for a Trump victory should Biden win in Iowa and Georgia. Likewise, Biden would face an almost impossible map if Trump flipped Minnesota and Nevada.

The two rivals’ cash reserves each are impressive heading into the closing stretch. Yet they represent a notable turnabout for Biden. He’d struggled with fundraising through much of the Democratic primary campaign, and as Biden emerged as presumptive nominee in March, Trump was well on his way to the billion-dollar fundraising mark.

Advertising spending data compiled by Kantar/CMAG and reviewed by The Associated Press shows that from January 2019 through the end of August 2020, Trump’s campaign spent $240 million on television and digital advertising compared to $165.3 million from Biden. But the latest Kantar/CMAG data shows that from Sept. 1 through the election on Nov. 3, Biden had committed $210 million compared to $169.7 million for Trump.

The ads planned for Biden’s latest buy reflect his challenge to build a wide coalition. In racially diverse Georgia, two spots feature Black men discussing criminal justice and opportunities in the Black community. Another highlights Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris to be the first Black woman to join a major party ticket as vice presidential nominee.

In Iowa, where the electorate is overwhelmingly white, one ad is built around Biden’s attacks on Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another shows Biden talking about protests of police violence against Black men. In the ad, Biden explicitly criticizes rioting and looting, but also blames Trump for stoking tensions and violence.

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