Amid G.O.P. Cash Crunch, One Very Flush Ally May Soon Share the Wealth
Former President Donald J. Trump is considering launching a raft of television ads to bolster Republicans in key races around the country, signaling a shift in political strategy as campaigns head into the final stretch of the midterm elections, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
Mr. Trump’s team has looked most closely at airing ads in Georgia and Pennsylvania, but Republicans involved cautioned that no decisions had been made.
Trump advisers have also debated whether television spots would be the most effective use of the former president’s political war chest, in part because the cost would be significantly greater than for candidates themselves with just six full weeks left in the midterm campaigns. While federal law keeps ad rates low for political candidates, those same protections are not afforded to political action committees.
“An outside group coming in this late could pay three or four times as much at this point,” said Ken Goldstein, a University of San Francisco professor who studies political advertising. “There’s a definite advantage to reserving early.”
While Mr. Trump has spent much of the past year being courted by Republicans seeking his endorsement and holding campaign rallies for a few of his favorites, he has been reluctant so far to share many of the spoils of his prodigious fund-raising.
The State of the 2022 Midterm Elections
With the primaries over, both parties are shifting their focus to the general election on Nov. 8.
- Inflation Concerns Persist: In the six-month primary season that has just ended, several issues have risen and fallen, but nothing has dislodged inflation and the economy from the top of voters’ minds.
- Herschel Walker: The Republican Senate candidate in Georgia claimed his business donated 15 percent of its profits to charities. Three of the four groups named as recipients say they didn’t receive money.
- North Carolina Senate Race: Are Democrats about to get their hearts broken again? The contest between Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, and her G.O.P. opponent, Representative Ted Budd, seems close enough to raise their hopes.
- Echoing Trump: Six G.O.P. nominees for governor and the Senate in critical midterm states, all backed by former President Donald J. Trump, would not commit to accepting this year’s election results.
His political committee, Save America, has raised $124 million since last year and spent nearly 20 percent of it, much of that on staging rallies, travel, consultants and legal bills. Little has been spent directly on helping other candidates.
But with Republican Senate campaigns and outside groups facing cash concerns, aides to several Republican contenders have said privately that Mr. Trump could help more by spending on their behalf than by traveling to their states to host his beloved mega-rallies.
Some Republicans have urged Mr. Trump’s team to spend on digital media platforms instead of on television, arguing that his group’s dollars would go further by helping candidates recruit volunteers, raise money and build out an online presence to help spread campaign messages.
During the past three weeks in Georgia and Pennsylvania, Republican candidates and outside groups have spent about $2 million more than their Democratic counterparts on television, according to AdImpact, an ad tracking firm. But for the final six weeks, Democrats have reserved nearly $14 million more than Republicans in television advertising in Georgia and $12 million more in Pennsylvania.
“We know all of these, battleground races, are going to be extremely tight,” said David Bergstein, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “In the final months of the campaign, Democrats are going to make sure voters know everything they need to.”
One person familiar with the decision making said that Mr. Trump’s team understood that campaigns had varying needs, and that it was considering pouring money into television ads, digital advertising and get-out-the-vote operations.
As a first concrete step, Mr. Trump has approved a new super PAC, run by some of his key aides that will be used to spend money on midterm candidates.
Make America Great Again Inc., or MAGA Inc., has signed up Chris LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative with a long career in Senate campaigns, as its chief strategist. Its polling will be overseen by Tony Fabrizio, who worked on both of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaigns.
Taylor Budowich, the former president’s communications director and a senior adviser on the 2020 re-election campaign, will be the group’s executive director. News of the group’s formation was first reported Friday by Politico.
“President Trump is committed to saving America, and Make America Great Again Inc. will ensure that is achieved at the ballot box in November and beyond,” Mr. Budowich said in a statement.
MAGA Inc. has also enlisted Meredith O’Rourke, a veteran Republican fund-raiser, to head the finance team and Sergio Gor, another longtime G.O.P. operative, as a senior adviser. The communications team will be staffed by Steven Cheung, a former White House aide, and Alex Pfeiffer, a former producer for the Fox News host Tucker Carlson.