Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio has again reduced advertising buys in two early nominating states just days before the primary process officially begins. The campaign cut $102,000 from its television advertising buy in New Hampshire, whose primary is February 9th, and $32,000 from advertisements in South Carolina. South Carolinians head to the polls on February 20th. The reductions are for commercials slated to run from January 26th until February 1st.
The latest reduction in advertisement spending comes one week the Florida senator slashed $850,000 in advertising in Iowa in the final days leading up to the February 1st caucus and another $123,000 in New Hampshire, according to Politico.
A source familiar with Rubio's spending on television advertising denies that the reductions have anything to do with budget constraints but is simply a change of strategy. The source said that the campaign had to respond after an onslaught of attack ads by Right to Rise, the super PAC backing former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The campaign decided against running 60-second ads, which tend to be more uplifting and emotive in nature, and instead opted for shorter, bolder, 30-second ads which better respond to attacks, the source added.
Thirty-second ads are also cheaper.
Right to Rise has spent $55 million on television ads and $20 million has been spent on negative ads against Rubio. He has made the challenge by the pro-Bush team a part of his platform, talking about it on the campaign trail and fundraising off of it.
"More than twice as much money has been spent attacking me as on any other Republican candidate," a fundraising solicitation sent to Rubio supporters Wednesday said.
Rubio saw a surge in the polls in late November, pushing him to a distant third in Iowa and hovering in around third place in New Hampshire and South Carolina, but his polling has hit a plateau since then. The campaign says the barrage of negative ads against him has been a factor for any stalled momentum.
But Rubio has spent a significant amount of money defending himself.
Rubio's campaign and the super PAC backing him have spent more than $36 million in advertising, which is more than any other candidate except Bush and the pro-Bush super PAC, according to ad-tracking data from SMG Delta.