LEXINGTON, South Carolina— Jeb Bush’s struggling campaign will cancel advertising buys in Iowa and South Carolina and shift staff from its Miami headquarters in an effort to ramp up its ground game ahead of the first primary votes being cast.
“Given the fluid race and the spending decisions by outside groups, we are making strategic adjustments with our resources to ensure we are in the most competitive position possible,” campaign spokesperson Allie Brandenburger said in a statement.The campaign’s decision is based in-part on the fact that Right to Rise, the super PAC backing Bush’s bid, has spent $40 million dollars on advertising so far. That figure dwarfs the mere $1 million spent by the campaign on its advertising efforts.
In total, $3 million of the campaign’s previously dedicated television advertising dollars will be reallocated to voter contact. The campaign will also deploy 60 staffers to early states - most of whom will be reassigned from headquarters.
Those moves mean that New Hampshire, where the campaign has intensified its efforts for months, will see a paid staff increase from 20 to 40 people in January with five campaign offices. The staffs in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada will expand to near 20 people each when the shifts are complete.
The campaign said it will remain on the air with television advertising in New Hampshire through that state’s primary, but will move some of its reserved time earlier than previously scheduled.
Right to Rise debuted two television ads this week, one in Iowa hitting Marco Rubio for missed briefings on Capitol Hill, and another in New Hampshire contrasting Bush’s record with other governors in the race.
Bush has spoken frequently about his faith in advertising and will often mention seeing his own television ads while in New Hampshire, however the ads have so far had marginal impact as Bush continues to languish in the polls. The reallocation of resources one month before the Iowa caucuses raises questions about whether the former Florida governor will remain committed to competing in key early voting states.
The spending between the super PAC and the campaign on television advertising remains the most money spent on advertising in support of any candidate in the 2016 race.
Bush will hold a campaign event Wednesday night in South Carolina after having a town hall in New Hampshire canceled due to weather on Tuesday.