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Biden outspent Trump $153 million to $57 million on ads in a single month

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks in Pittsburgh on Sept. 30, 2020.Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images

WASHINGTON — We’ve told you how Joe Biden passed President Trump in the money race. Now let’s show you how Biden is spending his money — and how Trump isn’t, at least over the advertising airwaves.

In the month of September alone, the Biden campaign spent $153 million on TV and radio ads, while the Trump campaign spent $57 million, according to ad-spending data from Advertising Analytics.

That’s nearly a 3-to-1 spending advantage.

Now GOP outside groups — which get less bang for the buck on ad rates than campaigns do — came to Trump’s rescue, narrowing Team Biden’s overall advantage versus Team Trump’s (campaign + outside groups) to $189 million to $127 million.

Still, it’s remarkable that an incumbent who began raising money so early and who once had such a significant cash-on-hand advantage over Biden is getting outspent here.

And check out the battleground state spending since Labor Day between the two campaigns, per NBC’s Ben Kamisar:

So after Labor Day, Biden outspent Trump 2-to-1 in North Carolina and expensive Florida, 3-to-1 in Michigan, and more than 4-to-1 in Pennsylvania.

The only state where the Trump campaign had the spending advantage over Biden is Georgia.

The top ad markets in September

Staying with the ad spending last month, here were the top individual markets in the presidential race from Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, per Advertising Analytics:

  1. Orlando/Daytona Beach FL: $23 million
  2. Phoenix: $22 million
  3. Tampa/St. Pete, FL: $20 million
  4. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL: $15 million
  5. Philadelphia: $15 million
  6. Charlotte, NC: $14 million
  7. Raleigh/Durham, NC: $14 million
  8. Detroit: $11 million
  9. Pittsburgh: $10 million

So three of the Top 4 markets are in Florida, and two of the Top 9 are in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Sounds about right.

Trump’s next debate is two weeks away

As Barack Obama found out in 2012, when you struggle in your first debate — or have a negative storyline or two from it — you have to wait until you get your next shot.

The next presidential debate is Oct. 15 in Miami. That’s two weeks from today.

And that puts a lot of pressure on Vice President Mike Pence in the Oct. 7 VP debate.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

7,270,398: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 42,800 more than yesterday morning.)

208,208: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 976 more than yesterday morning.)

103.94 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

73.1 million: How many people tuned in to the first debate, according to Nielsen.

More than a million: The number of users Snapchat says it has helped register to vote.

84 to 10: The Senate vote to pass a stopgap government funding bill.

2020 Vision: Trump goes after Omar

A day after President Trump refused to denounce white supremacy during the presidential debate, and the same day that Trump claimed to not know who the Proud Boys are, the president attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., last night.

And he didn’t stop rallygoers from chanting “lock her up.” Here was Trump:

“Now, and what about Omar? Where she gets caught harvesting? What the hell is going on? I hope your U.S. attorney is involved. What, what is going on with Omar? I've been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is [lock her up chants]. Let's get with it, let's get with it.”

Those comments came after President Trump railed against the idea of allowing more refugees into the country — Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia.

“It's the worst thing you've ever seen. But they pledged a 700 percent increase in refugees, 700 percent. Congratulations, Minnesota.”

On the campaign trail today

Mike Pence stumps in Iowa.

The Lid: Temperament tantrum

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at what the debate revealed about Trump’s temperament — and how voters viewed it four years ago.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Homeland Security officials were instructed to make comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse, according to talking points obtained by NBC News.

Trump is trying to drive a wedge between Biden and progressives. Some leaders on the left say it won’t work.

Many of Trump’s allies are worried that his debate performance did nothing to change the dynamic of the race.

The GOP is mobilizing an army of poll watchers. What’s not exactly clear is how it will play out.

Chris Wallace called Tuesday’s debate “a terrible missed opportunity.”

Swing state voters hated the debate. Did any change their minds?

Brad Parscale is stepping down from the Trump campaign to get “help” after an incident with police.