Efforts to prevent Republican front-runner Donald Trump from clinching the Republican nomination in his home state of New York have been barely existent, prompting complaints from the campaign of Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But in the past two days, three anti-Trump groups have purchased small ad buys in an attempt to deprive Trump from some delegates.
The latest announcement is by the conservative Club for Growth, which has endorsed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The group launched a micro-targeted digital ad buy using search terms, social media and conservative website of users in congressional districts in the Bronx and Brooklyn where they believe Cruz can cut into Trump's margin and pick up delegates.
Preventing Trump from winning a majority of the votes in some Congressional districts will keep him from sweeping the state. Both delegates awarded based on the winner of the state and in each Congressional district are awarded proportionally to the candidates based on vote total. But if the winner receives more than 50 percent of the vote, then the winner would take all the delegates.
Pointing to general election head-to-head polling, the ad Club for Growth's ad points to Trump's vulnerability.
"The truth is Trump can't win in November. Trump won't beat Hillary Clinton. In fact, Trump won't even beat Bernie Sanders," the narrator says. "Ted Cruz is the best hope for Republicans this fall."
Another group, the Never Trump PAC, has launched a $100,000 digital campaign in Manhattan opposing Trump on Wednesday. And a third group, Make America Awesome PAC, released a 60 second radio ad in Western New York ahead of the primary, which takes place next Tuesday. While the radio spot hammers Trump, including for saying he would "perhaps" date his daughter Ivanka if she weren't his daughter, the narrator in the ad also encourages voters to back Cruz.
"Trump. Stupid stuff," the narrator says. "Make the smart choice and support Ted Cruz."
The few dollars spent in the state, home to the most expensive media market in the country, is minimal compared to amounts spent in other states. For instance, the Club for Growth singularly spent $200,000 on a television purchase in the small and inexpensive state of Utah and $1.5 million in South Carolina.
"We'll go where we think we can have the best impact," Club for Growth spokesperson Doug Sachtleben told NBC News Wednesday when asked about the group's plans for New York.
Our Principle PAC, another anti-Trump conservative group, which has spent nearly $10 million in previous states has not made any purchases in the state.
"Trump is going to win New York handily," Tim Miller, adviser to Our Principles PAC, said on MSNBC recently.