The complaints have changed the dynamic that has dominated much of the race so far. Less than eight weeks before election day, the once lean Biden campaign is cashless while the massive Trump operation faces tough budget decisions that have increased tensions over the president.
Among those concerned is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who recently told the president she was concerned that his ads would not be on television in states such as Michigan and Florida, where Biden was covering the air waves. The president shared the concern, officials said, who discussed internal deliberations on condition of anonymity.
The decision to cut spending was mandated by Trump̵
Stepien has told others that cutting the ad budget is necessary because it is impossible to cut other expenses like staff or a campaign center. He has described difficult decisions as he tries to save significant money for the 30 days leading up to the November 3rd elections.
The moves have resulted in a tremendous short-term advertising benefit for Biden, who has an electoral edge in most battlefield states. Between August 10 and September 7, Biden’s campaign spent about $ 90 million on television advertising, more than four times the $ 18 million the Trump campaign spent, according to a Democratic company.
Trump-aligned external groups made part of the difference, spending an additional $ 28 million, compared to about $ 16 million from groups that support Biden. However, external spending has not eliminated the democratic advantages in competitive states.
Even with the outside group’s spending, the Democrats have been able to dominate the airwaves that are likely to rule the election. Between August 10 and September 7, pro-Biden efforts outpaced pro-Trump efforts by $ 9.3 million to $ 560,000 in Michigan, and $ 17.7 million to $ 6.1 million in Pennsylvania and $ 20.5 million to $ 7.8 million in Florida.
Stepien denied complaints about his strategic decisions in a statement to the Post.
“Four years ago, participants in the 2016 campaign got used to taking out the Beltway experts and asking why we spent so much time in Scranton, why we bought less advertising on TV, more digitally, and why we bought one Last made trip to Wisconsin, “he said. “We’re pretty happy with the outcome of these decisions and the President’s team this time around is just as confident in our approach.”
Trump campaign officials found they have a far more robust floor game than Democrats and a candidate who travels far more frequently and generates far greater media interest, which they believe reduces the need for paid advertising.
However, Republicans working on races in the Senate and House of Representatives are alarmed as they have seen Democrats take over the airwaves in parts of the country where low-ranking candidates depend on the president to lead them to victory.
“There is actually a lot of frustration that the Trump campaign is dark, especially in places like Arizona and North Carolina,” said a Republican strategist, who spoke about private conversations on condition of anonymity. “These two places have big Senate races.”
At the center of the tension in Trump’s orbit is disagreement about what proportion of campaign spending should be spent on on-site voting versus spending on television, and how much money the campaign should expect from donors in the final weeks of the campaign – combined with how serious their financial problems could become.
The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser, continues to oversee the campaign’s key financial decisions and has signed Stepien’s new approach, having previously endorsed spending approved by his predecessor Brad Parscale, who was downgraded by Trump this one Summer.
Parscale’s planning had accepted a large influx of smaller online donations by the end of the campaign that Stepien is less sure will arrive, officials familiar with the discussions say. In August, Trump raised $ 210 million, compared to $ 364.5 million for Biden’s operation.
Parscale, who compared the campaign he created to the Star Wars Death Star, has told others that the campaign has a lot of money and that he worked with Kushner and the Trump family to make spending decisions – and that they had to spend money early on the president in the running. Parscale also argued that it was important to spend money early because so many Americans are voting by mail this year.
One person familiar with high-level campaign discussions said the inequality in television spending was the result of different electoral strategies between the two campaigns.
“Our idea here is that we have twice as much TV as last time, we have more for digital TV, and because of all the money we’ve spent on data, we think we’ll be a lot more efficient,” she said Person on condition of anonymity to discuss internal considerations. “The biggest difference between the Biden campaign and ours is that we have a super aggressive floor game.”
The Trump campaign has opened more than 280 offices across the country compared to no offices of its own for the Biden campaign, although the Biden campaign did virtually a similar job.
The president was upset about some of Parscale’s expenses, but told other advisors that he wanted to keep Parscale on the team and didn’t want him “off the reservation,” a senior campaign advisor said.
Republican officials haven’t said how much money the campaign currently has in the bank, but several said a significant war chest remains.
“We set up the largest field operation in the history of politics during the pandemic. We didn’t have to slow down. That alone says we are not concerned about cash flow at the RNC, ”said Richard Walters, chief of staff at the RNC.
However, other Trump campaign officials said Stepien was forced to clean up a disorganized accounting plan left behind by Parscale. They said Stepien didn’t know where all the money was going and they would have to spend weeks putting together a formalized budget. Stepien told others that the campaign wasted too much money on things that were not central to winning the election.
For his part, Stepien said he inherited “a strong team”.
“We’ll have the resources and the plan we need to win,” said Stepien.
Trump’s team played defense between mid-August and early September, spending $ 3.8 million in Georgia and $ 1.4 million in Iowa, states recently won by Republicans where Democrats spent nothing. Biden, meanwhile, was on the air with $ 2.7 million in Nevada, which recently went unopposed to Democrats.
Among the hotly contested states, Biden spent more than six times as much as Trump in Arizona and nearly three times as much in North Carolina over the same period, forcing Republican SuperPACs to close the loopholes.
Inequality will continue into the future as the Trump campaign has continued to break down reservations in key states over the past few weeks. Reservations reported Wednesday for the week of September 15-21 predicted more than $ 30 million in ads to help Biden compared with $ 21 million in ads to help Trump.
According to data from Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic company that spends $ 59 million on Facebook and Google between August 8 and September 5, Trump continues to spend Biden online, compared to $ 43.3 million from Biden. However, much of the digital spend for both campaigns is aimed at non-swing states like California, New York, or Texas, which suggests that the ads are focused on fundraising, not convincing voters or boosting them Voter turnout.
In a statement to The Post, McDaniel Stepien said he was overseeing the campaign.
“Bill is doing an excellent job leading the campaign,” she said. “His data-driven approach put President Trump in a strong position to win.”
Democratic strategists believe that the Trump campaign’s decision to partially run television commercials reflects a calculation that more Trump voters will appear on election day than Biden voters. Biden’s strategists are more focused on promoting early coordination among his partisans.
In a conference call last week, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden campaign manager, said the Biden campaign wanted to spend more resources this fall to encourage an increase in early voting and mail-in voting that was driven by strategy one typical campaign deviates increases spending just before election day at its peak.
“This is a choice like no other,” she said. “We really preloaded a large part of our programs so we meet the voters now. We’ll meet them, provided they vote early.”
The person familiar with the high-level discussions of the Trump campaign said the Democratic assumptions are correct and Republicans expect most of their constituents to vote later in the cycle.
“Our people overwhelmingly want to vote in person, while many Democrats will vote by mail,” said Mike Reed, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.