GOP presidential candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is canceling $3 million dollars in TV ads in the early primary states of Iowa and South Carolina.
The money will instead go to repositioning 60 campaign staffers from Bush’s Miami headquarters, and sending them to the first four primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. CNN reports, “The move will double the staffer presence in New Hampshire to more than 40.”
Before the Iowa caucus on February 1, Bush’s Super PAC is planning to spend $3.6 million for a TV campaign in the Hawkeye state.
CNN suggests the reduced airtime in Iowa shows Bush won’t be competing as hard there, and instead focusing on other states like the more moderate state of New Hampshire.
“It would be a mistake to assume that this is some pulling out of Iowa,” said Bush’s strategist Dave Kochel about Iowa. “However, we know that Iowa is a challenge.”
The Des Moines Register first reported Bush’s reaction to the reduced TV ads to personnel changes.
“We have a Super PAC that is advertising on television at a rate that is comparable to any other campaign, if not more. And we are reallocating our resources to voter contact and a ground game that will be second to none. It already is,” Bush assured the paper. “Having the best organization on the ground is how you win.”
The clearing of Bush’s Miami headquarters will send scores of aides to knock on doors, and Bush’s campaign on Wednesday was eager to portray the change as merely a recognition that the well-funded super PAC can handle paid advertising on its own. Bush had made early advertising reservations remaining for slightly over $1 million in Iowa, and slightly under $2 million in South Carolina, according to the campaign. No TV reservations are being changed in New Hampshire.
The campaign will send 10 paid aides to Iowa, 20 to New Hampshire, 10 to South Carolina, and a remaining 10 to Nevada.
It isn’t unusual for campaigns to send more staff into the field before people to go vote. But CNN notes, “canceling long-reserved TV time is an unusual step that hints at possible worries about remaining hard dollars.”