By Audrey Conklin
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’s campaign plans to spend more than $30 million on TV ads in early 2020 states, people familiar with the plan told The New York Times.
The Vermont senator spent $1.3 million on TV ads in Iowa in October and put $1 million toward TV ads in New Hampshire that will appear starting Thursday, the Times reported.
Sanders’s campaign also plans to put tens of millions more toward TV ads between now and March in key states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, as well as California, according to the Times.
NEW: Bernie Sanders campaign planning a $30+ million ad blitz of the first four states and California.
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) November 7, 2019
“He brings regular people into the process who are not currently participating,” Sanders adviser and TV strategist Jeff Weaver told the Times. “You need to be reaching people in a nonpolitical space. To find people who are not going to caucus, you have to be in spaces where they are, and that’s on television.”
Democratic consultant Joe Trippi said Sanders’s TV ad efforts are also likely an effort to target older voters.
“They’re doing very well with younger voters,” Trippi said in reference to Sanders’s campaign team. “He’s going to break out among older voters who are not with him, and that’s a TV audience.”
“There’s a reason why they’re called ‘Bernie Bros,’” Democratic pollster Jefrey Pollock, a former campaign adviser to Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, told the Times. “Nothing about him targeting younger men is surprising to me.”
Sanders’s biggest Democratic challengers Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden have spent significantly less on TV advertising so far, according to data from FiveThirtyEight and the Times.
Biden plans to spend $6 million on TV ads in early states, his campaign said on Oct. 3, Fox News reported.
Warren spent $27,000 to air her first 2020 TV ad in October, according to media tracking company Advertising Analytics, the Times reported.
Billionaire Tom Steyer — while not polling as high as Warren, Biden or Sanders — has spent the most on both TV and digital spending than any other 2020 candidate so far, according to FiveThirtyEight data.
Steyer spent $12 million on TV and digital ads in six weeks over the summer, the Times reported on Aug. 27.
The Vermont senator has raised more than any other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate as of September with a total of $65.1 million, the Times reported. Sanders also spent more on TV ads than any other Democratic or Republican candidate ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to the Times.
The majority of voters, 55%, think a new president should take office in 2020, and Sanders has 41% favorability for that title, after Biden with 43% favorability and Warren with 42%, according to a Monmouth poll released Wednesday that surveyed 835 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
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