Get ready to see a lot of Donald Trump on television soon. No, he's not dropping out of the Republican presidential race to launch a new reality TV program. He's about to finally flex his financial muscle in the primary/caucus race.
Media reports suggest the ad buy could be up to $100 million. FOX News' Howard Kurtz says the campaign told him it had budgeted $25 million to use during the third quarter of 2015, but didn't spend any of it due to "earned media" exposure early in his campaign.
The ads will be largely positive in nature, focusing on Trump's policy positions and stances on issues. But, the campaign has said it will respond in kind to any attack ads from other Republican candidates.
"If Trump pours big bucks into an ad campaign—and no budget has been set—he could again confound the prognosticators," Kurtz said. "While Trump enjoys a 20-point lead in national polls and dominates many state polls, he and Ted Cruz have been trading the lead in Iowa, where a win could give the Texas senator momentum and let some air out of the Trump invincibility balloon. A Gravis poll just before Christmas had Trump and Cruz tied in Iowa at 31 percent."
Iowa will be a critical first test for both Trump and Cruz.
Trump has attempted to win with an unconventional campaign strategy that skips on retail politics, which would create difficulties for the Secret Service, which is now providing his security, and has instead focused on "shock and awe" large-scale rallies in the state's population centers. He has a large following of grassroots activists, but may not have the campaign mechanisms in place to convert support into turnout on Feb. 1, when Iowa winters can be unbelievably brutal.
Cruz, on the other hand, has attempted a little of both: a few large-scale rallies coupled with a retail campaigning blitz in the final weeks before the Iowa Republican Caucus. A win in Iowa would simultaneously help bolster the call for conservatives and Christians to coalesce behind him while putting a serious dent in Trump's armor of invincibility.
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