Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is launching a $6 million advertising buy set to begin next week, according to a senior Scott official, marking a sizable investment as he officially filed paperwork Friday for his presidential run.
The Scott ad buy, which would be the largest single ad buy from a presidential candidate so far this cycle, according to the Scott official, includes $5.5 million in broadcast television, cable, radio and satellite. Those ads will begin Wednesday and run in Iowa and New Hampshire through the first GOP debate, which is scheduled for August. The Scott team is also planning a digital ad campaign during that time. The Scott official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview campaign plans.
Scott’s early outlay reflects both the challenge and the opportunity he has at the outset of his long-shot bid, in a race where he lacks the national profile and name recognition of others. He is registering in low single digits in polls of the GOP race, well behind former president Donald Trump, who has a commanding lead, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who places second. But Scott has built a network of wealthy donors that allies believe will be essential to financing the effort to introduce him to GOP voters and help him climb in the polls.
The South Carolinian, who is the only Black Senate Republican, is expected to formally announce his White House bid in North Charleston on Monday, even though he has effectively been running for some time. In April, Scott formed an exploratory committee, which allows him to raise money and pay for travel. Scott has also made several visits to Iowa and New Hampshire as part of his “Faith in America” listening tour.
Scott is also competing against fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley, a former U.N. ambassador.
Scott will begin his White House bid with $22 million in cash on hand transferred from his Senate account.
While Scott has proved to be a prolific fundraiser, there is already plenty of cash in the 2024 race. MAGA Inc., the super PAC supporting the Trump campaign, has so far spent nearly $12 million on ad buys, while Never Back Down, the super PAC backing DeSantis, has spent $10.8 million, according to AdImpact, which tracks spending on commercials. Former vice president Mike Pence’s allies recently announced the creation of a super PAC to support a potential White House run.
Super PACs can receive unlimited funds but can’t directly coordinate expenditures with campaigns. Campaigns, meanwhile, receive lower rates for ad buys compared with super PACs.
Scott will be the first — and probably the only — senator to mount a White House bid. He is expected to run on his personal story and convey an optimistic message while attacking the “radical left.” Scott handily won reelection to the Senate in November and has indicated this term will be his last.
Following his formal announcement, Scott will travel to Iowa and New Hampshire. He’ll also attend Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride event in Iowa on June 3, along with Haley and Pence.
Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.