Former President Donald Trump has emerged as the cornerstone of campaign advertising in the Republican primary in 2022, with candidates fighting over who is most allied with Mr. Trump and his America First agenda.
From Alabama to Ohio to Pennsylvania, Republican candidates have already paid out at least $ 2.2 million on Trump-inspired ads, according to a statement from Advertising Analytics, a nonpartisan ad tracker.
“Trump, faithfully, branded his own name. “People immediately think of things like ‘fighter,’ ‘anti-establishment,’ and ‘make America great,'” said Brett Doster, a GOP strategist. “Even if Republican candidates do not agree with him on all issues, owning the brand communicates their values and levels of testosterone.”
“Conversely, it is risky to deny the brand, if not fatally,” he said.
In fact, anti-Trump ads are rare. Viewers are more likely to get a double dose of Mr. Trump from candidates running for the same office, especially in red states and red congressional districts, where Mr. Trump’s star power is unmatched.
Alabama Gov. Kate Ivey recently posted a promotional ad featuring a photo of her talking to Mr. Trump on an airport tarmac, and where she says she stood with “Trump to make sure no election here can ever be stolen.”
Not to be outdone, her rival, Lynda “Lindy” Blanchard, a major Trump donor, presented herself to voters as a Trump-like figure who described herself as a businesswoman and outsider.
The ad shows a photograph of her with Mr. Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. The narrator says Mrs. Blanchard will “fight for President Trumps [border] wall, “and says,” President Trump appointed her ambassador to Slovenia. “
The ad ended with: “Driven by faith, entrusted by President Trump, Conservative outsider Lindy Blanchard as governor.”
Ms. Blanchard test-drove a similar Trump-infused message during her short-lived bid The U.S. Senate this year tells viewers, “Let’s send a loud and clear MAGA message to the swamp to stop the spread of socialism.”
Mr. Trump’s term ended chaotically with his loss of the White House in 2020. Republicans also lost control of the U.S. Senate, and lawmakers voted to accuse him of inciting the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. capital with his stolen election allegations.
Mr. Trump has since waged an unprecedented campaign to discredit the results, and maintain his status as the most polarizing figure in recent U.S. political history.
His dominance of the primary ad wars shows that he remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party with an unshakable base of grassroots support.
And Mr. Trump does not let go of the party and declares Saturday at a “Save America” meeting in Arizona that he will arrange a “comeback that no one has ever seen.”
A poll by Economist / YouGov this month showed that his favorable assessment is underwater among adult citizens, including the independent.
But 81% of Republicans give him rave reviews, including 57% who say they have a “very positive” view of him.
To capitalize on this sentiment, Republicans seeking Trump’s worship have become creative.
Some have even posted ads in Mr. Trumps backyards.
Businessman Jim Lamon, a candidate for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in Arizona, got a seat on cable television in New Jersey last year, where Mr. Trump summer vacation at his golf club in Bedminster.
Nevada gubernatorial candidate Michele Fiore posted an ad in Florida announcing her support for Mr. Trump.
“You’d better think I was attacked for it,” Ms Fiore said on the spot after stepping out of a black Ford F-150 with a gun in her hip holster. “We need outsiders, fighters, not the same old boring, moderate, compromise blue blazer politicians,” she says before tipping over a television showing footage of Senator Mitt Romney.
Sir. Romney, a Republican from Utah, has been a vocal critic of Mr. Trump.
The race to become Trumpiest has been intense in the GOP nomination race for the Senate in Buckeye State.
Mike Gibbons, a candidate for the GOP Senate nomination in Ohio, aired an ad attacking rival JD Vance for not being on board with Mr. Trump.
“Vance called President Trump an ‘idiot’ and ‘reprehensible,'” says the narrator on the 30-second-long site, which also contains old footage of Mr. Vance saying “I’m a ‘never-Trump’ guy. I never liked him. “
Mr. Gibbons says that Mr. Vance is not “on our team.”
“President Trump made America safer, stronger and more prosperous than ever before,” he says. “I approve of this message because President Trump fought for you, I will do the same.”
It’s not all rah-rah Trump.
Daniel McCarthy, a former GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, released a digital ad promising to donate $ 1 million to the charity after Mr. Trump’s choice if he debates him for 30 minutes at his demonstration Saturday in Florence, Arizona.
“The world is waking up to your massive grief,” says Mr. McCarhty in the video. “Trump, you failed America. You are the most misleading president in American history.”
Mr. McCarthy then throws a red Make America Great hat down to the ground and burns it with a flamethrower before driving it over in his double-cabin truck.
Mr. McCarthy lost the GOP primary in 2020 by 25% of the vote to Senator Martha McSally’s 75%.