(Bloomberg) -- A super PAC supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is reserving $25 million worth of TV time in Iowa and New Hampshire, its biggest ad blitz yet as the fight for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination enters a new phase after Labor Day, according to a person familiar with the strategy.
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Never Back Down strategist Jeff Roe outlined the strategy to donors this week in Milwaukee, where eight candidates challenging former President Donald Trump for the nomination held their first debate, according to the person familiar who requested anonymity to discuss strategy.
The $25 million figure could not be immediately confirmed in disclosures filed by television stations. But data from ad tracking firm AdImpact confirmed at least $11.4 million in newly placed ads across Iowa beginning Sept. 6 and lasting through the end of October.
The amount would represent more than a quarter of the $96.8 million cash on hand that the political action committee disclosed at the end of June, according to federal filings.
DeSantis trails Trump by over 40 percentage points among Republican voters, according to the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. His 14.6% support is down from when he entered the race in late April and he’s now looking over his shoulder at upstart candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, the Ohio businessman who is challenging him for third place.
But DeSantis is doing better in early primary states such as Iowa, where Trump’s lead is 26 points. Never Back Down is running much of the traditional grassroots campaign operation for DeSantis in early states, an unusual move for a super PAC.
Read more: DeSantis’s Campaign Isn’t Fully In Charge of DeSantis’s Campaign
Roe, the strategist, told donors in Milwaukee Wednesday that Never Back Down will expand that ground-game strategy, hiring 13 more staffers in states beyond Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the first four Republican early voting states.
The strategy was reported earlier by the Washington Post.
Among the largest contributors to the DeSantis super PAC are hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow, Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, and Sequoia Capital’s Douglas Leone.
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