May 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott sets $6M ad buy as he nears GOP bid

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) speaks in Charleston, S.C., in February. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republican Sen. Tim Scott's not-yet-official campaign for president is launching a $6 million ad buy in several states early next week.

Why it matters: The move suggests the South Carolina senator will be able to boost his profile with voters as he tries to be heard over better-known GOP contenders such as former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who like Scott is expected to announce his candidacy next week.

What we're watching: The initial $5.5 million TV ad buy will air statewide on broadcast TV, cable, satellite, and radio in early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire.

  • The ads will begin early next week and run through the first GOP presidential debate in August.
  • Scott's boosters aim to spend another seven figures on digital ads nationwide, with a focus on Iowa and New Hampshire.

The big picture: Scott, the only Black Republican in the U.S. Senate, is widely expected to announce his presidential run in South Carolina on Monday. He's pitching himself as a more optimistic alternative to Trump and DeSantis.

  • A prolific fundraiser, Scott will enter the race with $22 million in cash on hand, much of it left over from the $42 million he raised during the 2022 cycle.
  • He's also betting that his personal story — having grown up in a poor, single-parent household — will resonate as he travels the country talking with voters.

Trump's campaign and his super PAC, MAGA Inc., have already spent more than $13 million on ads, primarily to blast DeSantis.

  • DeSantis and his super PAC, Never Back Down, have spent more than $10 million.
  • Meanwhile, President Biden's recently launched campaign and the Democratic National Committee have spent more than $1.6 million.

What's next: Scott is expected to speak at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University in North Charleston, S.C., on Monday before traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire later next week.

  • He'll attend Sen. Joni Ernst's (R-Iowa) Roast and Ride, an event in Iowa that involves a rally, a motorcycle ride and the roasting of meats — and Democrats.
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