Ted Cruz shocked some election watchers when he showed up in The Bronx and Brooklyn last week, despite his well-known disdain for so-called “New York values.” But despite his interest in the state and its delegates, his campaign and the super PAC backing it have yet to drop a dime on TV ads there.
Democratic hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running TV spots in the pricey New York City media market, and GOP candidate John Kasich’s campaign has also spent a relatively small amount on TV in the New York City area. However, the Cruz campaign and the PAC Keep the Promise have spent nothing on broadcast TV, cable TV or radio in all of New York State, according to data from Kantar Media’s CMAG analyzed by Ad Age.
Par for the course, Donald Trump hasn’t bought TV spots in New York State, either.
New York voters will cast ballots in the state’s unusually contested primary on April 19.
It is unclear whether the Cruz campaign is aiming any online ads to New York voters, but Federal Election Commission data indicates that Keep the Promise is staying out of New York not just when it comes to TV but online and in other media too.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has spent $1.35 million on TV and radio ads in New York City since the week of April 5, while her opponent Bernie Sanders has spent $1.9 million. Mr. Kasich’s camp has spent just around $131,000 on cable TV, and only in the New York City market, according to CMAG.
Mr. Cruz and company may be sitting this one on TV out considering his low chances of winning many delegates in New York. According to a Real Clear Politics poll average on Monday, Mr. Trump is headed for a projected 53.6% of the vote in New York compared to Mr. Kasich’s 21% and Mr. Cruz’s 18.6%.
The lack of GOP ads in New York could change, though, suggested Patrick Ruffini, former RNC digital director and cofounder of Republican analytics firm Echelon Insights. Many campaigns this election cycle are not planning TV budgets or buying commercials until the last minute.
“Everything is coming together on the fly a week out,” Mr. Ruffini said. “You normally get a whole bunch of filings Thursday before the Tuesday election.”
Yet, many Republican sources suggest that it’s worth it for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich to campaign in key congressional districts in the state, if only to suppress Mr. Trump’s ability to win all three delegates available in each district.
Candidates winning more than 50% of the vote in a district in New York will be awarded all three of that district’s delegates. If the top vote-getter in a district receives below 50%, he gets two delegates while the candidate in second place gets one.
“Your goal is to keep [Mr. Trump] from getting all three delegates,” said Scott Trantor, partner at Republican data firm 0ptimus.
In the New York City area, where household-level TV ad targeting is available through Cablevision, the Cruz campaign could try to persuade voters in districts deemed as possible wins by targeting TV ad messages to specific voters. Both the Cruz camp and Keep the Promise work with much-touted analytics firm Cambridge Analytica, which has helped both organizations determine which voters to best target advertising to during the primaaries.
Districts with small pockets of Republicans might make sense to target because there are far fewer Republican voters to win over, suggested Alex Lundry, co-founder of Republican data firm Deep Roots Analytics.
“You can go talk to 5,000 Republicans in this district and possibly get three delegates or you can talk to 500,000 in this district and get three delegates,” he said.