Oh, Jeb(!). News came this past week that the former Florida governor was canceling $3 million in TV ad buys in the crucial early-voting states of Iowa and South Carolina, a concession to financial and political reality that has been a long time coming.
Bush aides ,,, sought to spin it in the best possible light: The campaign would be sending 50 more staffers into the four states with the first contests to beef up its already strong on-the-ground presence! And Right to Rise, the Bush-aligned super PAC, would continue to spend heavily in Iowa and South Carolina!
Here’s the thing: Right to Rise has already spent north of $50 million on ads aimed at bolstering Bush and slowing his opponents. So far, the strategy hasn’t worked.
More staffers on the ground can help, but they can’t ever reach as many people as TV ads do. Staffers also can’t manufacture momentum, something Bush doesn’t have – even after a decent showing in the last debate.
He now has one hope in this race: a surprisingly strong performance (first place? second?) in New Hampshire, where he is still advertising and where 40 staffers will be deployed. That’s a remarkably narrow window of opportunity for the candidate who started 2015 as the clear front-runner to be the Republican nominee.
Jeb Bush, for finally figuring out just how limited your options are, you had the worst week in Washington.