President Donald Trump’s campaign and allied super PAC America First Action have halted television and radio ads in Michigan amid concerns of underperformance in the battleground state.
The Trump campaign stopped running ads in Michigan last week and America First Action has not aired ads since July 2, McClatchy DC reported. The campaign and super PAC are both running ads planned for Michigan in other battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
America First Action cut Michigan from its ad buy in early July and replaced the state with Arizona and North Carolina, The New York Times reported.
“We’re looking at the map and basing our investment decisions on the most reliable pathway to 270 electoral college votes,” an adviser to America First Action said. The super PAC believes Michigan is still in play and also encouraged the Trump campaign to continue campaign activity in the state, according to McClatchy DC.
Data provided by Advertising Analytics revealed the Trump campaign shrunk its Michigan budget to under $1 million in July after spending $2.5 million in the state in June, McClatchy DC reported. The Biden campaign more than tripled Trump’s television ad spending in Michigan over the last month, according to The Hill.
“The numbers speak for themselves and the advertising dollars speak for themselves,” a Trump administration official involved in the 2016 campaign said. “The campaign thinks they have a better shot in Pennsylvania and that’s why they are matching Biden on advertising there.”
Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien — who replaced Brad Parscale earlier this month — told reporters last week that the president still intended to keep Michigan from flipping back to the Democrats, according to The New York Times. “We intend to protect this 2016 map,” he said.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden leads Trump in virtually every public poll and commands an 8-point lead in Michigan according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. A Morning Consult poll released Tuesday found Trump trailing Biden by 10 points in Michigan.
“The numbers are dismal,” a GOP pollster familiar with the presidential race in Michigan told McClatchy DC. “Hard to see how it remains competitive.” (RELATED: Fox Poll Shows Trump Down Nearly 10 Points From 2016 Results In Key Midwestern States)
Trump beat then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a slim margin of 10,000 votes. Clinton campaign operatives cited a lack of activity on the ground and Trump’s over-performance among “white male union members” representing the state’s auto industry, Politico reported.
The Trump campaign still has $11.4 million in television ads reserved in Michigan starting in September, and Republican Party leaders like Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel say Trump still has a chance in the state, The New York Times reported.