Trump Campaign Spends $870,000 for Air Time: Campaign Update

Bill Allison

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s campaign is taking to the airwaves with its first purchase of broadcast air time of his campaign.

The national buy, worth an estimated $870,000, is reserved from Wednesday through next Monday, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks spending on political commercials.

The campaign announced on Friday that it would spend $8 million to broadcast a 30-second ad that includes a recording of Joe Biden recalling how, when he was vice president, the U.S. threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine unless the country fired a top prosecutor. That ad says Democrats are trying to steal the next election by pushing for impeachment over Trump’s request to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his son.

The data from Advertising Analytics doesn’t indicate whether that ad, or another, will be shown in the time slots the campaign purchased.

The purchase comes after Trump and the Republican National Committee said they had raked in $125 million for his re-election campaign in the third quarter.

Trump Re-Election Effort Raise $125 Million (5:41 p.m.)

President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee continued to shovel cash into their re-election war chest, as third-quarter fundraising surged to $125 million.

Trump’s campaign, the party and two joint fundraising committees that support them ended the quarter with $156 million cash on hand, more than twice the amount that President Barack Obama’s re-election committees had at this point in 2011.

“President Trump has built a juggernaut of a campaign, raising record amounts of money at a record pace,” campaign manager Brad Parscale said in statement.

Overall, the four committees have raised $308 million in 2019 as they prepare for next year’s election. The campaign and the RNC have combined to make $10 million in media buys that started airing Sunday on cable and digital platforms. The bulk of those media buys will be about the Ukraine scandal that is threatening Trump’s presidency, while $2 million is for House races.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel credited the polarized political atmosphere for part of the party’s fundraising success. She added that the GOP is spending millions in an effort to take back the House of Representatives. -- Bill Allison

Kamala Harris Fundraising Steady as Polls Drop (4:37 p.m.)

Kamala Harris’s fundraising has held steady in the third quarter even as her campaign lost momentum.

Harris, currently in fifth place in the RealClearPolitics polling survey, raised $11.6 million in the third quarter. That was down slightly from the $11.8 million she raised in the previous quarter.

The campaign reported that it has nearly $10 million cash on hand after raising a total of $35.5 million since she entered the race. The average donation amount during the third quarter was $34 while the average online donation was $20.

Harris, California’s junior senator, is the fourth candidates to voluntarily report her third-quarter fundraising. Bernie Sanders said he raised $25.3 million, Pete Buttigieg said he brought in $19.1 million, and Cory Booker said he raised $6 million. Candidates are to officially report third-quarter totals to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15. -- Bill Allison

Sanders Releases His First 2020 TV Ad in Iowa (2 P.M.)

Bernie Sanders is putting the $25.3 million he raised in the third quarter to use by purchasing his first TV advertisement of the campaign.The ad, entitled “Fights for Us,” cost the campaign $1.3 million and is set to begin airing Thursday across Iowa. It focuses on Sanders’ decades spent advocating for the working class.

“In this moment, we need a fighter,” the narrator says in the ad, which will run for two weeks. “Bernie Sanders. We know he’ll fight for us as president because he always has.”

Sanders’ campaign announced Tuesday that it had the biggest third-quarter fundraising haul of any Democratic candidate who has self-reported so far. The Vermont senator is polling third nationally with 18% support, behind Joe Biden with 27% and Elizabeth Warren with 23%, according to RealClearPolitics averages. In Iowa, he is also in third place with 12%. -- Emma Kinery

Booker’s $6 Million Haul Is His Biggest So Far (12:23 p.m.)

Cory Booker saved his campaign with a late fundraising surge, propelling him to a $6 million third-quarter total, his biggest take so far.

While the total exceeds the target Booker had set for staying in the race, it lags far behind the amounts raised by his top-tier competitors -- Bernie Sanders raised $25.3 million and Pete Buttigieg $19.1 million in the same period. Still, Booker’s campaign says the haul will be enough to continue to compete for the nomination. It also aims for $3 million in October.

More than a third of the total came after Sept. 21, when the campaign announced it needed to raise $1.7 million to remain viable in the race. Booker ended up raising almost $2.2 million from more than 46,000 donations.

“This really was a make-or-break moment for our campaign,” said Addisu Demissie, manager of Booker’s campaign. “We needed to change the trajectory of our fundraising at the end of the month.”

Candidates are due to officially report third-quarter totals to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15. Some campaigns voluntarily announce the amount they raised ahead of the deadline, often to show the depth of their support. -- Bill Allison

Yang Starts Giving Out ‘Freedom Dividends’ (11:15 a.m.)

Cathy from Georgia and Taylor from North Carolina just won $1,000 a month for a year, according to Andrew Yang’s campaign.

Yang used his opening statement at the last Democratic presidential debate in Houston to promise a pilot program of his signature Universal Basic Income policy to 10 Americans. Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” calls for giving every adult American $1,000 a month. It wasn’t clear whether the Freedom Dividends were coming from Yang’s personal wealth. There were questions about whether he could use campaign funds to give out to potential voters.

He has already been paying $1,000 a month to three families out of his own pocket since the beginning of the year. The campaign said Kyle Christensen in Iowa was using his pay for his mother’s medical bills and to buy a new guitar. In New Hampshire, the Fassi family is putting it toward their daughter’s college tuition, the campaign says.

Yang’s campaign said it will announce the eight additional recipients in the next weeks. -- Emma Kinery

Sanders Raises $25.3 Million in Third Quarter (6:00 a.m.)

Bernie Sanders raised $25.3 million in the third quarter, the highest three-month total yet among Democratic presidential candidates.The fundraising surge was fueled by small-dollar donors giving an average of $18.07, Sanders’s campaign said. The most common occupation listed by contributors was teacher, and Starbucks Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. were the three most common employers.

“Bernie is proud to be the only candidate running to defeat Donald Trump who is 100% funded by grassroots donations – both in the primary and in the general,” Sanders’s campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Elizabeth Warren also is only taking small-dollar donations in the primary.

Sanders’s third-quarter haul tops the $24.9 million that Pete Buttigieg raised in the second quarter. Overall, Sanders has raised $61.5 million since launching his candidacy in February. He’s also transferred $12.7 million from his Senate campaign, including $2.6 million in the third quarter.

Candidates are due to officially report third-quarter totals to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15. Some campaigns voluntarily announce the amount they raised ahead of the deadline, often to show the depth and breadth of their support. -- Bill Allison

COMING UP

Democratic candidates will attend a presidential forum hosted by the 2 million member Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles Oct. 4 and 5. So far, Sanders, Warren, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are set to attend.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union will host forums in Iowa with Democratic presidential candidates on Oct. 13. Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Michael Bennet have confirmed they will attend.

--With assistance from Emma Kinery.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, John Harney

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