Republicans spend over $100M on Iowa ads, with more to come

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By Carina

Republican presidential candidates and affiliated groups have poured a staggering $105 million into advertising in Iowa in 2023, gearing up for the first-in-the-nation caucuses. 

This significant investment is poised to grow by an additional $7.5 million before the January 15 caucuses, as per upcoming ad reservations tracked by AdImpact.

Des Moines Iowa Usa August 2023 Former South Carolina Governor — Stock Photo, Image
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Nikki Haley sparks ad spending surge in late Iowa push

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s late push for robust performance in Iowa has been a driving force behind the rise in ad spending. 

Despite former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leading the polls throughout 2023, Haley’s campaign sees Iowa as a crucial battleground.

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Shift in ad spending reveals dynamics in GOP race

While Trump maintained consistent leads in recent Iowa polls, shifts in ad spending reveal broader dynamics within the GOP race. 

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s early dominance in Iowa ad spending waned after he dropped out in November. 

Subsequently, the focus shifted to bolstering Haley, Trump, and DeSantis.

SFA Fund dominates ad space as Haley targets Iowa and New Hampshire

SFA Fund Inc, a super PAC supporting Haley, emerges as the top advertiser in Iowa, contributing $25 million in 2023. 

The super PAC maintains a significant ad budget of nearly $3.3 million for the final two weeks. 

Haley’s campaign, with $4.6 million spent and $1.3 million reserved, aims for a strong showing in Iowa and a solid finish in New Hampshire.

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Haley’s electability focus and ad strategies

Haley and her allies emphasize electability in their closing arguments in Iowa, backed by new ads showcasing polls indicating her ability to defeat President Joe Biden in a hypothetical rematch. 

Notably, the super PAC supporting Haley invests heavily in ads critical of DeSantis, depicting the campaign in disarray.

DeSantis and pro-DeSantis groups’ response

Never Back Down, a super PAC supporting DeSantis has been the second-largest spender in Iowa, contributing $17.6 million. 

Despite recent internal turmoil prompting a pullback in ad reservations, other pro-DeSantis groups are poised to fill the void. 

DeSantis’ campaign focuses resources on Iowa, with a spending total of $2.3 million in 2023.

Attacks and endorsements in ad campaigns

While Fight Right targets Haley in its Iowa ads, Good Fight’s ad features Casey DeSantis speaking emotionally about her husband. 

Doug Mastriano Florida Governor Ron Desantis Unite Win Rally Pittsburgh — Stock Photo, Image
Credit: DepositPhotos

DeSantis faces challenges from Trump’s campaign, with ads featuring footage of DeSantis praising Trump. 

MAGA Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC, spent $11.4 million, contrasting Trump with Biden.

Ramaswamy shifts focus to direct voter outreach in Iowa

As ad spending intensifies, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign shifts resources away from the airwaves to focus on extensive voter outreach. 

Spending $1.9 million on Iowa airwaves, Ramaswamy’s campaign utilizes mail, text, calls, and door-knocking for direct voter engagement.

Iowa’s airwaves heat up as Caucuses draw near

The battle for Iowa’s political favor unfolds on the airwaves as Republican candidates strategically allocate resources. 

With the caucuses approaching, the intensity of advertising campaigns reflects the significance each contender places on a strong showing in this pivotal state.

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