State of the Race, as Told by Ads

Elsewhere, the Trump campaign has surpassed $20 million in total spending in three states: Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. While Mr. Trump has invested relatively little in Ohio so far, at $3.2 million, he has $18 million reserved through November, the second highest current advance total for his campaign. It’s a state his campaign expects to carry, though recent polling shows Mr. Trump up by just a percentage point.

Another swing state where Mr. Trump has spent relatively little is Michigan. The campaign has invested $3.5 million there so far and has $11 million booked through November. But a new poll from CNN found Mr. Biden with a 12-point lead in the state, and his campaign is currently outpacing Mr. Trump on air by nearly $1 million per week.

The inverse is playing out in Iowa, a former swing state turning increasingly red. There, the Trump campaign has spent about $1.8 million and reserved another $5.6 million. But the Biden campaign and Democratic allies have no presence there or future ad buys.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump finds himself in a similar position as in Florida, having already spent $10 million in the state he narrowly won in 2016, and with $17 million currently reserved. And yet, Mr. Trump has consistently trailed Mr. Biden in the former vice president’s home state. The Biden campaign, headquartered in Philadelphia, has spent $6.2 million in the Keystone State, more than double what it has invested in every battleground state except Florida.

Now, about those long shots. The Trump campaign appears to have a serious interest in Minnesota, a state Mr. Trump lost in 2016 by just under 45,000 votes. Though his campaign has spent only $1.2 million so far in the state, it has set aside more than $14 million through November. Current polling has Mr. Trump down by double digits in Minnesota, a state where a Republican hasn’t won a presidential election since 1972. And perhaps as a sign of confidence, neither Mr. Biden nor Priorities USA has booked any ads in Minnesota through November.

As a show of force in Texas, the Biden campaign has spent just $65,000 there, though it cut an ad specifically tailored for the state that includes Mr. Biden directly appealing to Texans. But according to his campaign, it has reserved only a “six-figure buy” at the moment. And similar to Mr. Biden in Minnesota, the Trump campaign has no ads in Texas.

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