Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
🚀 Today launches the first of a series of pieces in which Axios' media reporter Sara Fischer and I team up to take you inside the mechanics and strategies of the 2020 presidential campaigns.
Tonight's newsletter is 1,463 words, a 5.5-minute read.
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending. But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted:
“As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."
The big picture: Since the last election, it's become obvious that all campaigns are at risk of the changing algorithms and policies at Facebook, or any platform. People familiar with the Trump campaign described its thinking in detail to Axios.
Details: Today, the campaign is testing new strategies on several dozen platforms, including YouTube, Google, ad exchanges, publisher networks and conservative podcasts. The goal is to be less dependent on Facebook — though the platform will still play a crucial role in the Trump 2020 strategy.
One fun thing: "Trump Train" stickers that the campaign sold in 2016 were inspired by Facebook ad testing that found supporters responded the most to a call to "Join the TRUMP TRAIN" when the variant included flames around the text at the end.
By the numbers: While the Trump campaign still spends big on Facebook ads, the percentage of its ad budget spent there has fallen significantly over the past few months, according to data from Advertising Analytics.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor
In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.
Why it matters: If Trump wins re-election and Republicans are able to hold the Senate and take back the House, Trump will essentially have free rein to do whatever he wants in his second term.
What we're hearing: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Alayna that Trump is "going to travel for us. If you look at where we’re playing, he'll be going. He's already made that commitment to me."
The state of play: Republicans see the 30 Democratic seats in districts Trump won in 2016 as the most winnable.
But, but, but: Even prominent Republicans privately concede that their chances of actually regaining the majority are slim. Also, Trump has an aversion to small arenas and likes to leave the retail politics to Vice President Mike Pence and other surrogates, like Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr.
What they're saying: "He and I talk twice a day. We meet often about these races. He is committed," McCarthy said. "He'll be in these competitive districts and more."
Go deeper: Read the full article here
Photo: Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump's limo, "The Beast," takes a lap at the Daytona 500 today. They made a complete lap with the full fleet of racing cars, according to a top NASCAR official.
Photo : Alex Wong/Getty Images)
"Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sharpened his criticism of Mike Bloomberg on Saturday night, telling an audience of Democrats here that the billionaire former mayor of New York City would bring fatal weaknesses to a general election," the Washington Post's David Weigel reports from Las Vegas.
Why it matters: That the Democratic front-runner would spend time targeting Bloomberg in a stump speech ahead of the Nevada caucuses — a contest in which Bloomberg is not even on the ballot — tells you a great deal about where the Democratic nominating contest is heading.
On CNN's "State of the Union," leading 2020 contender Pete Buttigieg responded to Rush Limbaugh ridiculing how "a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband on stage" would play politically in contrast to "Mr. Man, Donald Trump."
"Well, I love my husband. I'm faithful to my husband," Buttigieg responded. "On stage, we usually just go for a hug, but I love him very much."
"And I'm not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh," Buttigieg added in reply to the quadruple-married conservative talk show host.
Limbaugh, to whom Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his State of the Union speech, recently announced he has advanced-stage lung cancer.
Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The House and Senate are on recess this week.
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
In the olden days before Twitter, people had to go to slightly greater lengths to engage in media criticism. And Amy Klobuchar was one of those people.
Klobuchar, whose father was a journalist, wrote the letter four years before first running for public office.