Raleigh, N.C. — Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton poured more than $876,540 into broadcast television advertising on North Carolina stations during the five days running up to her visit to Charlotte Tuesday.
That spending push bought more 1,551 spots between June 30 and July 4 in the state, marking an uptick in spending since Clinton began airing general election ads in the state on June 16, according to data provided to WRAL News by Kantar Media. Those numbers don't count ads that were on heavy rotation on Tuesday or any spots aired on cable television.
By contrast, businessman and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has not aired a broadcast television ad since the March primary.
"It's a sign of strength when you can go up (on broadcast television) early in a battleground state like North Carolina," said Dave Miranda, communications director for the state Democratic Party.
No Republican has won the White House without North Carolina's electoral votes since President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. President Barack Obama, who is campaigning with Clinton in Charlotte, won a narrow victory in the state in 2008 and narrowly lost the Tar Heel State vote in 2012. The fact both Trump and Clinton are campaigning here on the same day emphasizes the state's swing state status.
Clinton ad spending in North Carolina
|Date||Number of spots aired||Estimated spending|
|Five day total:||1,551||$876,540|
Data provided by Kantar Media.
The Democrat's ads largely play up Clinton's work for causes such as children's health care and have hit the airwaves as a scandal involving the former secretary of state's handling of emails came to a head. On Tuesday, FBI director James Comey called Clinton's handling of classified emails "extremely careless" but said she would not be prosecuted related to the breach. He also said that Clinton's practices may have risked the release of classified information.
"She's the one who has work to do," said North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse when asked about Clinton engaging in an ad campaign before Trump. "If I had a day like she's been having, I'd write the biggest check I could."
Woodhouse said that the email scandal reinforced the idea that Clinton is not trustworthy and views herself as above the law.
"It takes a lot of money to overcome that," he said.
Miranda dismissed that notion, pointing out that Clinton's campaign reported having $42.5 million cash on hand. Trump, by contrast, had only $1.3 million in the bank, according to his June campaign finance report. Miranda added that Trump was not making the effort to win North Carolina typically expected of a national candidate.
"He's got nothing going on here in North Carolina in terms of advertising spending or staff on the ground that we're aware of," he said.
Woodhouse said that the state party would take care of the ground game and described Trump as "not a traditional candidate." One advantage of that outside-the-norm posture is that Trump is able to garner free media attention through news coverage of his often controversial remarks.
"I think Donald Trump has brought fresh air. I think he comes across as authentic," Woodhouse said. "I would much rather have him as a candidate than someone who has put the nation at risk."