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Republican Ad Spending in Iowa Surpasses $123 Million Ahead of 2024 Caucus

Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley leads in spending with an in-state total over $35 million

Republican Ad Spending in Iowa Surpasses $123 Million Ahead of 2024 Caucus

Republicans have spent $123 Million on advertising in Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucus.

The race for the party’s nomination has narrowed down to former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

AdImpact, an advertising tracking company, found that, as of Jan. 11, Haley’s campaign spent the most of any of the candidates with a total of $68.6 million. That includes at least $35.5 million in Iowa and $26.4 million in New Hampshire, according to a report released earlier this month. Her ads thematically center around China, foreign policy, and character.

According to Time, “Haley is the undisputed champion on the local airwaves, where there is no avoiding almost 350,000 cumulative political ads and counting” ahead of the caucus but her “late-hour dominance on the air may not fundamentally change the race. 

“In the states where she is beating most other contenders, she’s still mightily down,” the publication noted. “Trump has about a 30-point advantage at this point in Iowa and South Carolina polling, and is up more than 20 points in New Hampshire. Haley seems stuck in single-digits in Nevada, which frankly has not been atop her priorities because it comes in the window between New Hampshire and her Waterloo — the one at home in South Carolina.”

DeSantis’ ads also most frequently include messages about China and character as well as immigration. His campaign reportedly spent $59.9 million, the second-highest Republican total. His spending in Iowa ($33.2 million) significantly outpaces his spending in New Hampshire. 

Several of the ads released in support of the Florida governor have specifically attacked Haley while shying away from criticism of Trump, the frontrunner.  

The Trump campaign spent a total of $54.2 million as of Jan. 11. This includes at least $17.2 million in Iowa and $12.7 million in New Hampshire. Trump’s team has spent more on national advertising ($19.5 million) than either Haley ($45,000) or DeSantis ($9.7 million).

The 45th president’s advertisements were found to predominately mention immigration, illegal drugs, and taxation. 

Ramaswamy, who has a personal net worth of at least $950 million, has spent $8.1 million on advertising so far. Ahead of the Iowa Caucus, he spent approximately $4 million on ads in the state and another $2.3 million in New Hampshire. His campaign has also spent $121,000 on national advertisements.

The pharmaceutical entrepreneur’s total was a fraction of the advertising spending of South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who has terminated his presidential campaign. Scott spent a total of $24.3 million on ads before terminating his campaign in mid-November.

In total, Republican presidential hopefuls have spent approximately $270 million.

AdImpact noted in its report that “during the primary phase, out of the total 146K TV ad airings captured, 54.4% were classified as either negative or contrast ads.”

“Joe Biden was the primary focus of these ads, being the subject of 60% of them,” the report continued. “Within the Republican primary contenders, Ron DeSantis was targeted by 20% of these ads, while Donald Trump and Nikki Haley each were the focus of 10% of the ads.”

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