For residents of four perennial swing states, the negative TV ads will start Wednesday and won’t stop until November.
First out of the gate this year with a sustained television spending campaign is Priorities USA, the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC, which announced Monday that it will spend $6 million over the next four weeks on ads hitting presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Nevada.
The super PAC, which spent $75 million in 2012 helping to re-elect President Obama, had been holding its fire until the end of the Democratic primary. But with the clock ticking and Bernie Sanders making it clear he has no plans to exit the race for at least another month, the super PAC decided to fire the starting gun on its general election campaign now.
The ads come in advance of a previously planned campaign, which will kick in on June 8, the day after the California primary.
The super PAC has now reserved a total of $96 million television air time for the remainder of the year. It plans to spend $20 million from June 8 through the party conventions in July, and then another $70 million from the conventions through Election Day, November 8.
It also plans to spend $35 million on digital advertising from June 8 through Election Day, noting that large portions of key Democratic constituencies don’t own TVs. And it has reserved more than $5 million in radio advertising.
For now, all of the ads will target seven traditional battleground states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire.
Trump has suggested he will make a play for Rust Belt states that have consistently voted Democratic in recent years, but narrowly, like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Many Democrats think Trump’s prospects are overblown in those states, and Priorities USA doesn’t currently have pans to spend big there, but aides say their plans will evolve over time.