The Democratic organization PAC Priorities USA has begun reserving thousands of TV commercial spots in Florida, mainly in the I-4 corridor, to campaign against President Donald Trump this spring while Democratic presidential candidates campaign to sort themselves out.
Priorities USA, the largest Democratic Party PAC in the U.S., announced earlier this winter that it would spend up to $12.5 million in Florida on TV and millions of dollars more in digital advertising this year, starting as early as late March, seeking to define Trump and counter any advertising the President’s reelection campaign and his allies may be planning.
To date, the only presidential campaign commercials appearing on local TV in Florida have been those of Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg. That is likely to change in the coming weeks as Democratic candidates turn attention to Florida and its March 17 primary.
But a check of more than a dozen TV stations’ FCC reports Friday found none had reserved any time for any of the other candidates yet.
Priorities USA Action, defined as a Carey committee, a hybrid of a PAC and super PAC, is another matter.
The organization signed contracts in the past couple of weeks to reserve airtime between late March and mid-July on stations in Orlando, Tampa Bay, Sarasota, and Fort Myers, according to reports filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission. Priorities USA said it plans to purchase more in West Palm Beach, too.
On one station alone, WESH, Orlando’s NBC affiliate, Priorities USA reserved more than 1,000 TV commercial time slots for between March 30 and July 13. That’s more than $1 million worth of TV advertising time. Thousands more commercials have been reserved at other stations in Orlando and Tampa Bay.
“The path to victory has run through the I-4 corridor in almost every election in Florida over the last decade,” Daniela Martins, Florida Outreach Director and National Hispanic Media Director for Priorities USA, said Friday. “The high-density of persuadable voters from different walks of life concentrated along the I-4 corridor makes this a key battleground in 2020 — and we’re making investments to lay the groundwork Democrats need to win in November.”
The organization has not yet publicly previewed the commercials it intends to run.
Martins said they would focus on demonstrating that working families have not benefited from Trump’s economic policies and that he has been a threat to Floridians’ access to affordable, quality health care.
“While most of our party is focused on choosing our nominee, Donald Trump will be spending unprecedented amounts of money in battleground states in an effort to define the election before our nominee has a chance to defend themselves. We will not let this go unanswered,” Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, stated in a news release earlier this year. “Priorities USA has been outspending Trump online in key states for the last six months, and we will now be expanding our efforts to TV to make sure Florida voters are hearing about how Donald Trump isn’t working for them.”