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A major outside Democratic group is outspending President Trump on Facebook ads in the crucial battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Why it matters: 2020 presidential candidates have spent at least $61 million so far this cycle on Facebook and Google ads, with Trump in the lead, according to the Wesleyan Media Project. But that's national spending. The state-by-state spend (below) is important because that's where the 2020 election will be won.

Expand chart
Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Table: Axios Visuals

The big picture: Trump is still using online advertising more aggressively than Democrats.

  • "The Trump campaign’s intense testing of ads is one example," writes the NYT. "It posts dozens of variations of almost every ad to figure which plays best. Do voters respond better to a blue button or a green one? ... Will they more readily cough up cash for an impeachment defense fund or an impeachment defense task force?"
  • As Axios' Ina Fried and Sara Fischer write: "Online ad spending offers President Trump an efficient way to target sympathetic voters with fundraising pitches and barrage them with inflammatory messages on issues ranging from immigration to impeachment."

Meanwhile, Priorities USA — a major Democratic super PAC — launched a digital ad campaign in late July "focused on holding President Trump accountable" and highlighting how his economic policies have negatively affected some Americans.

  • The group spent $40 million online in 2016 and they said they plan to spend more than that in 2020.

Yes, but: The GOP has more than $150 million cash on hand for their 2020 efforts, so Democrats aren't yet winning the money race.

The bottom line: Whoever wins the next election will need a battleground strategy online that reflects a comprehensive field operation on the ground in these states.

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

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