A super PAC supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection is ramping up its advertising in Pennsylvania and other key battleground states, pledging to spend more than $1 million a week in the Keystone State starting next week until Labor Day.
America First Action said Monday it would spend $23 million on its latest round of commercials and digital ads attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Arizona.
That includes $7.5 million in Pennsylvania, a state Trump won by less than 1 percentage point in 2016. The political action committee has already spent $5.4 million on broadcast and cable television in the state this year, according to the ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics.
The Keystone State’s importance in November was underscored last week with dueling campaign appearances by Biden and Vice President Mike Pence.
The new spending comes as polls show Trump trails Biden by a significant margin in Pennsylvania and the public continues to sour on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Trump campaign has done a terrific job of laying down their advertising strategy for the fall, so we are stepping up to help fill the gap in the summer,” Brian O. Walsh, president of America First Action, said in a statement.
“Hopefully, this provides some clarity on our next steps, gives the campaign the flexibility to deploy their extensive financial resources as they see fit, and helps define the choice in this election by keeping the focus on Joe Biden,” he said.
The Biden campaign and pro-Biden outside groups have spent about $21 million on TV ads in Pennsylvania this year, exceeding the roughly $14 million spent by the Trump campaign and America First, according to Advertising Analytics.
The Trump campaign has been airing commercials in the state since early May, and Biden started in mid-June.
America First’s ads aim to help Trump make the argument that Biden is an unacceptable alternative.
A New York Times/Siena College survey conducted last month showed Biden with a 10-point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania. Fifty-six percent of registered voters viewed Trump unfavorably, while just 42% viewed him favorably, the poll found. Biden, the former vice president, was viewed favorably by 50% of those polled and unfavorably by 48%.
Nationwide, 57.5% of voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, and just 40.5% approve. Those figures track closely with his approval ratings overall.