Stand for Truth and Keep the Promise, super PACs affiliated with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have booked more than $4 million in TV advertising for Iowa and South Carolina.
The reserved time is much larger than a $1 million buy reported earlier on Thursday. Information on the larger buy comes from a veteran media strategist unaffiliated with any campaign. It’s the first significant ad buy by either the Cruz campaign or an affiliated super PAC.
Ted Cruz has opened a lead over the rest of the GOP field in Iowa. He leads most recent polls of the first caucus state and has just over 30 percent support in the RealClearPolitics average of polls. National frontrunner Donald Trump is second with 27 percent support.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and neurosurgeon Ben Carson are a distant third and fourth, with 12 and 9 percent support respectively. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who polls within the margin of error in Iowa, made a swing through the Hawkeye State this week. Like in New Hampshire, Christie is competing with Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich for the more establishment lane in the nomination fight.
The Cruz super PACs have also booked ad time in South Carolina, where Ted Cruz has gained support since the last GOP debate. Trump holds a strong lead in the Palmetto State, while Cruz has moved into second. Rubio and Carson are again a distant third and fourth.
The South Carolina primary is February 20, less than two weeks after the New Hampshire primaries.
The Cruz campaign is one of the better funded presidential campaigns. The campaign announced this week it had raised around $20 million in the 4th Quarter, bringing its total haul to just over $45 million this year. Super PACs affiliated with the Cruz campaign raised $57 million in the first reporting period of the campaign, second only to Jeb Bush’s allied super PAC.
The $4 million in reserved advertising is the first significant buy by any organization linked to the Cruz campaign. To date, the campaign or affiliated super PACs have only spent around $1 million on all paid advertising. Only Donald Trump’s campaign has spent less among the major candidates for president.
The buys suggest that Cruz is looking to win Iowa and then compete aggressively in a string of Southern states that begin with South Carolina. On March 1st, just days after South Carolina, seven southern states, including Texas, will vote in primaries. A strong showing in that string of states would give Cruz a great deal of momentum going into the spring.
As the voting approaches, campaigns will all have to start making serious decisions about allocating spending and devoting the most precious commodity, a candidate’s time. Cruz looks to be placing his bets.