Sep 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Pro-Trump super PAC launches $40M ad blitz in sprint to election

Screengrab of an ad showing Joe Biden saying "your taxes are gonna be raised"

Screengrab of an ad, courtesy of America First Action.

America First Action, the biggest pro-Trump super PAC, is spending another $40 million on economy-focused ads in key states ahead of November, including a new targeted campaign in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Why it matters: It shows Republicans remain concerned about Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and even Georgia — all states Trump won in 2016.

  • The new ad buy brings America First Action's total spending this cycle to over $106 million.
  • The group says they plan to announce yet more spending in the five weeks between now and the Nov. 3 election.

What they're saying: The PAC's president Brian Walsh told Axios that this spending, while independent of the Trump campaign, provides cover in key areas in order to allow the president's team to spend more in other places where they may see opportunities to flip states that were blue in 2016.

  • "We want to focus as much as we can on the center of the dartboard," Walsh said.

Details: The campaign will include TV, digital and mail ads.

  • One ad running in Philadelphia this week asserts that Joe Biden wants to raise taxes on Day One, and that his plans would unravel the economy.
  • Trump's own campaign has been increasingly looking to Pennsylvania as key to his re-election.

By the numbers:

  • Florida: The group will spend $8.7 million in Miami, with ads starting on Oct. 7 and running through Election Day. (The group is already spending $12.7 million from September to Election Day in Orlando and West Palm Beach.)
  • Pennsylvania: $18.4 million in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Johnstown and Erie (Sept. 30 to Election Day).
  • Wisconsin: $5.5 million in Wausau (Sept. 30 to Election Day), Milwaukee and La Crosse (Sept. 30 to Oct. 13). The PAC will also spend on mail ads in Minneapolis.
  • North Carolina: $4.6 million in Raleigh (Sept. 30 to Election Day).
  • Georgia: $2.8 million in Albany, Macon and Savannah (Oct. 7 to Election Day).

The other side: "This election boils down to Scranton versus Park Avenue because Joe Biden is standing up for the middle class families that Donald Trump has abandoned in favor of corporate welfare and his rich, connected donors," Biden spokesman Andrew Bates told Axios.

  • "Independent economists confirm that Joe Biden would grow our economy faster than Donald Trump. ... We literally can't afford to keep Donald Trump behind the wheel."
Go deeper