A super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has booked airtime for the Texas primary, making it the first known group backing a 2016 presidential candidate to officially move toward TV advertising in the Lone Star State.
This week, Right to Rise USA reserved a week's worth of airtime in February in the Lone Star State, according to Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the super PAC. The $6.1 million buy is part of a previously announced plan by the group to spend $16.8 million on TV advertising in some states that hold their primaries in March.
The super PAC, which reported raising more than $103 million in the first half of the year, has billed the cluster of initial buys as the "first significant investments in the March states from any campaign or super PAC." Lindsay said the reservations are part of a "long-term plan to tell the story about Jeb's conservative record and his plans to disrupt the old order in Washington."
Although the GOP field is giving Texas ample attention with regular fundraisers and occasional campaign events, no major organization supporting a White House hopeful besides the pro-Bush super PAC has gone public yet with plans for TV advertising in the state. Earlier this month, the campaign of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson began reserving airtime for the March 1 primaries, though a spokesman said the strategy included all states voting that day except Texas.
"We will continue to monitor our needs there as the campaign moves forward," added the spokesman, Doug Watts.
For groups that can afford it, moving early to scoop up airtime in Texas could have its benefits, not the least of them a head start on the state's 155 delegates that make it easily the biggest prize on March 1. Waiting too long could set a campaign back in a state like Texas, with its 19 major media markets that make proactive planning and coordination a must to effectively reach millions of GOP primary voters. And in any case, it's not cheap: Right to Rise's $6.1 million plan for Texas is by far its most expensive reservation in the group of initial buys.