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Eyes on 2024: GOP primary heats up on the airwaves

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., released the first TV ad of his presidential campaign.

By and

The GOP presidential primary is also heating up on the airwaves, with Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., launching his first TV ads of the race on Tuesday. 

The 60-second spot echoes messages from Scott’s campaign launch speech, with Scott saying in the ad, “To the radical left that says we’re an evil, declining country, I say the truth of my life disproves your lie.”

Scott’s campaign has also released this 30-second ad.

Scott’s initial $6 million ad buy in Iowa and New Hampshire underscores his strong financial position in the race as a prolific fundraiser. The Wall Street Journal reported that Scott’s campaign raised $2 million in the first 24 hours, bringing its cash-on-hand total to $24 million. 

Republican groups and candidates have spent a combined $29.1 million so far on ads in the presidential race, with most of that spending coming from outside groups, per AdImpact. 

The pro-Trump super PAC MAGA Inc. has spent more than $12.8 million on ads so far, according to AdImpact, while the pro-DeSantis super PAC Never Back Down has spent nearly $10.8 million. 

In other campaign news…

A pre-announcement tease: Florida’s first lady, Casey DeSantis, tweeted a video teasing her husband, Gov. DeSantis’ presidential launch. 

DeSantis’ dollars: CNBC’s Brian Schwartz dives into the Florida governor’s top fundraisers and the business leaders who will help bundle cash for his nascent campaign. And the New York Times reports that the pro-DeSantis super PAC is “expected to have an overall budget of at least $200 million, including more than $80 million to be transferred from an old DeSantis state political account.” 

Super Tuesday, then a trial: Former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial for falsifying business records will start March 25, 2024, well into the GOP presidential nominating calendar. 

Pence’s thoughts: Former Vice President Mike Pence sat down with Scripps News for a wide-ranging interview, and said he does not support allowing transgender soldiers to serve in the military, calling them “a distraction.” 

Biden’s digital spending haul: President Joe Biden has spent more on digital ads this year than 11 top Republican candidates or possible presidential candidates combined, per a new analysis from the FWIW newsletter reported on by Axios

Biotech blunder: Politico reports on how Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy worked for a hedge fund that invested in the infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s business

Florida man: The Miami Herald reports that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is weighing a presidential run, received payments up to at least $170,000 from a developer “to help cut through red tape and secure critical permits for his stalled real estate project.” 

A new gig? Delaware Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester told NBC News she’s “interested” in potentially running for Senate now that Democratic Sen. Tom Carper is retiring.

Santos special? Jewish Insider reports that top New York Democrats have spoken to former Rep. Tom Suozzi about mounting a comeback bid if a special election for embattled Republican Rep. George Santos’ seat occurs. 

A different choice: reports that Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is backing state Rep. Craig Riedel’s congressional bid (Riedel lost the primary to J.R. Majewski in 2022, who went on to lose to Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur). 

Jersey swap: Former New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski won’t run for a rematch against GOP Rep. Tom Kean, Jr., who defeated him in 2022, per the New Jersey Globe

California love: CHC Bold PAC, which is aligned with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is backing California Democrats Tim Sanchez and Kim Nguyen in House races for the state’s 12th and 45th Districts, respectively.