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Trump to begin buying ads in swing states, including Pennsylvania

Jason Cato
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REUTERS
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump listens during a round table discussion on security on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, at Trump Tower in New York .

Television viewers in the Pittsburgh region have seen plenty of ads featuring Donald Trump in recent weeks, but that’s because he’s been the star of TV spots by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and big-spending super PACs trying to make him look bad.

The Republican presidential candidate this week plans to start spending money on commercial spots carrying his message in Pennsylvania and several other potential swing states, his campaign staff confirmed to several news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal and Politico.com.

Trump ads paid for by Trump’s campaign are to start airing Friday in Pennsylvania as well as in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, important states on the electoral map.

David Urban, a senior adviser for Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania, declined to discuss the pending spots or whether they would be pro-Trump or anti-Clinton.

“Just tune in and see,” said Urban, a Washington lobbyist and former chief of staff for the late Sen. Arlen Specter.

The ads will be the first money Trump has spent on television spots in Pennsylvania since the primaries. During that phase of the campaign, the New York billionaire spent about $100,000 in the Pittsburgh market.

He has spent nothing on television ads anywhere since securing the GOP nomination in July in Cleveland.

Clinton’s campaign and outside groups that support her have spent more than $100 million on general election ads, according to an NBC News report.

Since the conventions started in July, Hillary for America has spent more than $650,000 on nearly 1,000 television ads in the Pittsburgh market, Tribune-Review research found.

Her campaign has committed to spending $475,000 more on about 600 television spots here during the next three weeks, according to sales information provided to the Federal Communications Commission by WPXI, KDKA and WTAE television stations.

Time will tell whether an ad blitz will make a difference for Trump. Recent polls showed him trailing Clinton by about 9 percentage points in Pennsylvania, said G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs.

“I think they understand they had to start advertising,” Madonna said. “Maybe the ads will make a difference. We’ll see.”

Jason Cato is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7936 or [email protected].

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