Trump Campaign Retreats From Iowa Airwaves In September

Photo by Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign pulled more than $1 million in TV ads off the Iowa airwaves in September, providing a realtime example of the financial deficit his campaign has produced despite a multi-year fundraising advantage over Joe Biden.

Over the summer, the Trump campaign reserved $5.8 million to spend on TV ads in Iowa between Sept. 8 and Election Day Nov. 3. This month, however, $1.4 million in ads set to run Sept. 8-22 was cancelled. Currently the campaign still has reserved about $4.4 million on ads between Sept. 29 and Nov. 3.

While the Trump campaign was off the air this week, Biden’s team was up on network TV here for the first time. For example, between Sept. 22 and 27 on KGAN in Cedar Rapids, the campaign spent more than $10,000 on a combination of 30-second and one-minute ads. On KCCI in Des Moines, more than $65,000 was reserved this week.

Monday marked the first day Biden ads aired on network TV stations in Iowa during the general election campaign. Previously his ads were reserved for cable stations and digital platforms. According to the campaign, Biden’s ads will now air in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities, Sioux City and Ottumwa media markets.

A Wednesday press release from the Biden campaign said it was on TV and digital platforms in 13 states, including Iowa, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Nebraska and Minnesota.

Iowa is not the only swing state Trump has pulled ads from. New York magazine reported he also was off the airwaves this month in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two states he narrowly won in 2016.

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Citing the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics, Bloomberg reported that the Biden campaign spent $97.7 million on broadcast TV and cable ads between Aug. 10 and Sept. 7, compared to $21.6 million spent by Trump.

Though Trump filed for reelection the day after his inauguration in 2017 — and has been fundraising ever since — Biden and joint Democratic fundraising committees have surpassed the Trump campaign in cash-on-hand, NPR reports. According to NPR, Biden’s team started the month of September with $466 million in cash-on-hand compared to the Trump campaign, which said it had $325 million in the bank.

Despite carrying the Hawkeye State by 9 percentage points in 2016, the latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows the Trump-Biden contest in a dead heat, with both candidates garnering support from 47% of likely voters.

The Register’s poll shows Biden with a 12-point advantage over Trump when it comes to independent voters, a stark contrast to 2016 when, as the newspaper reported, exit polling from CNN showed Trump carrying independents 51% to 38% over Hillary Clinton. If Biden’s advantage with independents and his 20-point lead with women holds, pollster J. Ann Selzer said, those factors will be driving forces behind his victory.

Multiple pollsters were in the field this month in Iowa to gauge where voters’ support lies in the final stretch of the general election.

A Monmouth University Poll released Thursday provides the most positive result for the president. Among registered voters in the state, 50% said they support President Trump while 44% support the former vice president. Two percent of respondents said they were undecided.

The New York Times/Siena College survey gives Biden a three-point lead, polling with 45% support compared to Trump’s 42%.


By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 9/25/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.

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