Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign is set to begin a major advertising blitz, spending at least $10 million in the first four states to vote in the 2020 Democratic primary.
The campaign also plans to begin hiring staff in primary states that vote in March, including on all-important Super Tuesday. Building operations in the March states is crucial ― three-fifths of the Democratic delegates will be awarded by the end of 2020’s third month.
The new spending, announced in a memo to supporters from campaign manager Roger Lau, shows how Warren plans to continue the momentum that’s elevated her into the top tier of primary contenders, alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. The size of the advertising buy also highlights how Warren has been able to continue raising gobs of cash after deciding to stop attending high-dollar fundraising.
“Our biggest expense as a campaign is our staff, but as the campaign heats up, it will be on media to reach potential voters,” Lau wrote in his email. “Because we’re 100% grassroots funded, we’ve built our team to spend your dollars as effectively as possible to help deliver victory.”
Lau said the ad buy will mostly be on digital platforms rather than traditional broadcast television, and the campaign will produce the ads in-house rather than using a traditional media consultant.
“Take any of our big problems: Health care, climate change, gun violence. Corruption is at the root of why our government won’t act,” Warren says in a 15-second ad as President Donald Trump and former House Speaker Paul Ryan appear onscreen. “I’m Elizabeth Warren. I know what’s wrong, I know how to fix it and I’ll fight to get it done.”
The Warren campaign also released a 60-second ad highlighting her roots in Oklahoma and the hollowing out of the American middle class, and a 30-second ad highlighting her work to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and defeat former GOP Sen. Scott Brown.
“Leave it to a liberal professor to highlight a speech she gave at a liberal university in the heart of liberal New York City,” Republican National Committee Communications Director Michael Ahrens said, referring to the 60-second ad that uses footage from her Sept. 17 rally. “Warren may have plans, but they would decimate millions of middle class jobs and eliminate health plans for 200 million Americans.”
Lau provided fewer details on the campaign’s staffing plans in the March states, but highlights Illinois, California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Florida as places where it will make investments.
“We’re targeting our resources to invest in places that will be critical to keeping the House, taking back the U.S. Senate, and regaining ground in key state legislatures in 2020,” he wrote.
Warren has been steadily rising in the polls and attracting massive crowds to her rallies. She’s eschewed exclusive fundraisers with wealthy donors generally favored by presidential candidates as a way to amass campaign cash, instead relying on grassroots outreach ― more than 1 million donations from all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
Warren has become known for her personal outreach to supporters. She calls donors out of the blue to thank them for their contribution, and stays for hours after campaign events to take selfies with people. Lau estimates that she has done more than 60,000 selfies and taken more than 600 unfiltered questions at 134 town halls in 27 states and Puerto Rico.
This story has been updated with comment from the RNC.
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