The Hillary Clinton campaign has delayed a planned Florida ad buy on the Weather Channel after facing criticism for targeting voters in the path of Hurricane Matthew.
“We have requested that stations in Florida delay any of those ads on the Weather Channel until after the storm passes,” spokesman Jesse Ferguson said in a statement Thursday.
Politico first reported that the Clinton campaign had planned to spend $63,000 on Weather Channel ads in Florida over a five-day stretch starting Thursday, just as the storm nears the coast.
Politico noted that Donald Trump and other candidates have advertised on the same channel this year. But the bid to capture support from anxious Florida residents in the path of a deadly storm that has triggered mass evacuation orders and is expected to strengthen soon into a destructive Category 4 created a bit of an optics problem.
“If they’re out being too political at a time when the country has its prayers with the people affected, I think it could backfire,” Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Fox News earlier Thursday, before the delay was announced.
Walden called the ad buy “risky.”
Kristy Campbell, an ex-press secretary for former presidential candidate and Florida governor Jeb Bush, was more direct as she reacted to the report on Twitter:
This is a colossally huge and unforced error by the Clinton camp. Insensitive and will piss off Floridians. https://t.co/ok2ZYEPn7K— Kristy Campbell (@kristymcampbell) October 5, 2016
Bush also weighed in with a word of caution.
The Clinton campaign stressed that the ads make up a small fraction of their swing-state ad buys.
"Earlier in the week we made changes to our TV ad reservations across hundreds of stations in several battleground states including Florida. Less than 1% of those changes included the Weather Channel,” Ferguson said.
Fox News’ Serafin Gomez and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.