Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has stopped funding for all television ads less than one month before the Iowa caucus kicks off the GOP primary voting season, according to multiple media reports.
“We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified — best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out,” Ramaswamy’s campaign press secretary Tricia McLaughlin told NBC News, which was the first to report the shift in spending.
McLaughlin noted to NBC News this is not the structure of most campaigns, but it has chosen to do so in order to “be nimble and hyper targeted in our ad spending.”
In a statement to the New York Times, McLaughlin pointed to the large amounts of cash that have already gone into the presidential campaign, claiming, “$190 million in traditional advertising has been spent in this race nationally. Polls have barely changed.”
McLaughlin did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
The announcement marks a significant shift in campaign strategy for the biotech entrepreneur, who launched a $12 million ad-buy in Iowa and New Hampshire early last month.
Since announcing the multi-million dollar ad buy in early November, Ramaswamay’s campaign has spent a total of $2.2 million on TV, radio and digital ads, according to NBC News, citing data from the firm AdImpact. About $200,000 of that came in the first full week of December, while just last week, it spent around $6,000 on ads, all of which were for TV, NBC News added.
Ramaswamy’s recent ad spending is still far lower than his rivals, with former President Trump’s campaign spending about $1.1 million in the same week Ramaswamy spent $6,000, NBC News reported. In that same week, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley spent about $1 million, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spent roughl $270,000 and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent $88,000.
Despite a brief surge in the GOP primary polls last summer, any momentum Ramaswamy had appears to be dropping in recent weeks.
In Iowa, Trump holds a 33.6 percentage point lead, garnering about 51. 6 percent of the likely GOP primary vote in the state, based on The Hill and Decision Desk’s aggregation of polls. DeSantis and Haley fell behind with 18 and 17.1 percent, respectively, while Ramaswamy fell into the single digits with 5.8 percent support.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was slightly behind Ramaswamy, with about 3.8 percent of likely GOP support.
A similar trend is seen across national polling, where Trump garners about 63.1 of the likely GOP primary vote. Haley and DeSantis trail far behind at 10.8 and 10.6 percent, respectively, while Ramaswamy has about 3.8 percent support.
Despite these numbers, the entrepreneur earlier this week appeared optimistic for the Iowa caucuses, set to take place on Jan. 15, and dismissive of Trump’s wide lead.
“Mark my words on this: I think we’re going to have a major surprise on Jan. 15,” he said Sunday in an interview with Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.
“I respect Trump and his accomplishments for this country. Unlike a lot of other candidates, I’m not sitting here Monday morning quarterbacking some decision he made, but I believe we are the right people to take our America-first agenda to the next level.”
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