- Reuters/Jim Young
Ahead of a likely general-election matchup between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, a top pro-Clinton super PAC has already spent $136 million in ad reservations to gird for the fight ahead.
Priorities USA was founded to help re-elect President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
However, it spent “roughly $70-80 million” during that campaign, according to Justin Barasky, the group’s communications director.
This year, it “will be at least $136 million,” Barasky told Business Insider in a recent interview. “Obviously, we anticipate spending more, but I don’t have exactly how much.”
Business Insider asked Barasky whether this is reflective of a recognition from Priorities USA that Clinton’s likely campaign against Trump would be tougher than Obama’s 2012 fight against Mitt Romney.
“The Republicans tend to have more money every cycle, so we feel we should raise more every cycle. The other day, Sheldon Adelson said he was going to spend $100 million himself on Donald Trump,” Barasky said.
However, Trump, who recently said he wouldn’t self-fund his general-election campaign like he did the primary, could have fundraising issues of his own. While the billionaire Adelson’s commitment to the presumptive Republican nominee is very significant, it does not necessarily mean that other Republican donors will follow.
“I look at Sheldon’s support as meaningful but not necessarily decisive,” GOP consultant Rick Wilson, a prominent Trump critic, told Newsweek. “A lot of these guys have different sets of interests and outlooks, and so they are not saying, ‘A trade war with China is great news for me.’
‘Preaching to the choir’
Barasky also said the increased spending this year was the result of the super PAC deliberately “preaching to the choir” of core Democratic voters, as well as undecided and independent voters.
“We’ve got to make sure that not only are we convincing people, changing minds, but that we speak to our core voters, so they know what’s at stake and they come out to vote,” Barasky said.
Barasky explained this tactic is necessary to increase voting numbers. By targeting African-Americans, Hispanics, millennials, and women – which Priorities USA sees as core Democrat voters – it hopes to increase turnout. Trump, whose strength comes from white, working-class voters, would be at a huge disadvantage with higher turnout numbers.
“If those four constituency groups turn out in high numbers, we’re going to win,” Barasky said.
Targeted online ads
To reach those types of voters, the super PAC is spending a significant portion of its budget on “robust digital advertising,” unlike in 2012, Barasky said.
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Of the $136 million it has committed to spend so far, the pro-Clinton group told Business Insider it has allocated $35 million on digital ads. It is planning to spend another $96 million on traditional TV ads and $5.5 million on radio.
The majority of the digital budget is going on “non-skippable pre-roll video.”
“We’re confident that we will expose Trump as the con man that he is,” Barasky said of the advertising push.
“I would say we’re ready. We anticipate a close and competitive election; that’s why we put down $136 million in reservations,” Barasky added.
“We are confident that we will make the case against Donald Trump, but we’re taking nothing for granted. And that’s why we begun spending so high.”