Howard Kurtz of FOX News is reporting that Donald Trump is finally planning a television ad buy in the run-up to the February 1st Iowa Caucus:
When Donald Trump and his team were planning his presidential campaign, they drew up a budget of $25 million for television advertising in the third quarter of this year.
They wound up spending zero for the rest of 2015.
That is about to change. Sources in the Trump camp say they will soon launch a major ad blitz that could cost at least $2 million a week, and possibly several times that.
The initial wave of ads will focus on Trump’s vision and his stance on key issues—no bio spots necessary for the celebrity candidate—but that could change if any GOP rivals target him with negative commercials. “If you attack Trump, he will attack you 10 times as hard,” an adviser says. “We will not allow any attack to go unanswered.”
The Trump camp is working with a Florida-based advertising firm, as widely reported, but also with several other media companies, some of which are well-known in the political community, the sources say.
Much as been made of Trump’s lack of television spots, but he’s been hiring professionals to work for him. Before Thanksgiving, his campaign announced four more Florida hires. Trump claims to have 17 paid campaign staffers in Iowa and 15 in New Hampshire.
It was clear that Trump had plans to make buys during the last quarter, but cancelled them when it was clear he was trouncing his competitors in free coverage. But will it be enough in Iowa?
Alan Goodman of The Victory Group was on FOX News today and offered this:
“The bigger question here is… if Trump doesn’t win in Iowa, which is entirely possible given the Cruz surge of late, what does he do moving into New Hampshire? How does he spin it? Does he lose ground and momentum, perhaps, going into a state that he probably has to carry to keep the Trump [phenomenon] alive and well?”
Goodman says that Iowa, despite its few delegates in relation to other states, will have a larger-than-normal impact on the primary election in terms of campaign momentum.
“It feeds into a narrative… that Trump, I think, has been very successfully throwing out there that he’s the head of a movement that’s going to be hard to stop,” said Goodman.
“It’s really hard to model or measure enthusiasm,” said Goodman. Trump supporters, unlike backers of other candidates, have never had to show up to vote or make their voices heard on this level. “He is a very unique candidate with a very unique way of bringing his message to the American people and I think, more than anything… this election is all about us and what we’re looking for in a leader.”
Does Goodman mean that some Trump’s supporters haven’t been voters before? If so, Trump’s organizer’s have a lot of hand holding to do; much more than do operatives for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The later is campaigning in Iowa this week.