POLITICS

Marco Rubio running major ad blitz in Iowa before Feb. 1 caucus

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. at a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. at a town hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016.  (ap)

Marco Rubio is launching an ad blitz in Iowa, the first state to hold a presidential contest through its caucus process.

The senator’s campaign is airing roughly 7,000 ads in the Hawkeye State until the Feb. 1 caucuses, according to published reports.

That amounts to about one third of all the presidential election ads airing during that period, reports The Des Moines Register, which added that the effort carries a price tag of some $5 million for Rubio’s campaign and his super PAC.

“Back in the middle of 2015, we were, because of strong fundraising in the early part of the year, able to reserve significant portions of airtime in Iowa in December and January leading into the caucus,” said Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for the pro-Rubio Conservative Solutions PAC, in an interview with the Register. “That was done both to ensure we’re operating as cost effectively as possible but also to ensure access to prime television time.”

Iowans are accustomed to being bombarded with television presidential campaign ads. By the time the caucuses are held on Feb. 1, more than 60,000 will have aired, the Register said.

Rubio’s supporters have said that, on some level, they feel he can establish a connection with more Iowans through television than face-to-face interactions, which he’s also conducting.

The Register noted that Rubio’s national campaign manager, Terry Sullivan, said last year to the New York Times “More people in Iowa see Marco on ‘Fox and Friends’ than see Marco when he is in Iowa.”

Rubio also plans to have his face across television screens in New Hampshire and South Carolina before those states have primaries, according to The New York Times.

A new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register poll in Iowa shows Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Donald Trump basically tied for first place among likely Republican caucus participants. Cruz has 25 percent, Trump has 22 percent. 

Rubio is essentially tied with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, with 12 percent for the Florida lawmaker and 11 percent for Carson.

The rest of the GOP field got less than 5 percent.

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