Trump campaign going dark in Arizona, cancels planned TV blitz

By: - September 4, 2020 3:38 pm
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump in a shadow at a February 2017 ceremony in North Charleston, S.C., recognizing the first Boeing 787-10 produced. Photo by City of North Charleston | Flickr

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is going off Arizona airwaves after the Labor Day holiday, and may not resume television advertising in the Grand Canyon State until early voting begins in early October.

On Thursday, records filed with the Federal Communications Commission by Phoenix-area television stations showed that the Trump campaign cancelled all of its ads between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14. The air time totaled approximately $580,000 in the Phoenix media market, which includes most of the state except for the areas surrounding Tucson and Yuma.

A campaign spokeswoman confirmed Trump was suddenly going dark in a state where he has consistently trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the polls — a state that has only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate once since 1948.

“With a permanent presence in the state since 2016, Arizonans have heard from the Trump campaign for years and know about the wins President Trump’s America First agenda has delivered for them in just one term,” said Samantha Zager.

A Trump campaign source who was not authorized to speak on the record said that the campaign’s advertising strategy is following the early voting map. Because Arizona early voting doesn’t begin until Oct. 7, the source indicated advertising here was being halted.

Zager didn’t respond to follow-up questions about whether the campaign intended to halt all advertising until early voting begins. The campaign has not cancelled the a time it reserved earlier this year for the rest of September and October, according to documents television stations are required to file with the FCC.

For the week beginning Sept. 15, the Trump campaign has reserved an estimated $580,000 in the Phoenix market. The following week, beginning Sept. 22, nearly $1 million in advertising time has been reserved. There are no apparent reservations for the seven days beginning Sept. 29, but the campaign has about $900,000 reserved beginning Oct. 6.

FCC records also show that the Trump campaign stopped advertising on Tucson television stations about two weeks ago.

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Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.