Audience of one: Republican candidate for governor in Nevada running campaign ad in Palm Beach, Fla.

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — In a campaign ad, Nevada gubernatorial candidate Michelle Fiore exits a Ford F-150 with a handgun on her hip and tells viewers that she was one of the first elected officials to endorse Donald Trump . Leading up to the 2016 election.

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“You better believe I was attacked for this,” Fiore says, reaffirming his commitment to the former president, as a country-rock-style guitar riff plays in the background.

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She hopes Trump is watching.

In addition to buying ads in Nevada media markets like its competitors, Fiore is investing campaign funds to air its 60-second segment in Palm Beach, Fla., where the former president spends the winter at his Mar-a-Lago club. Huh.

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His campaign spent $6,270 to air 62 television spots on Fox News at the West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce Media Market in the last week of November, a Federal Communications Commission filing shows. Trump has been dividing his time since leaving office between his official residence in Florida, and his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, where he spent most of last summer.

When Fiore’s commercials aired over the Thanksgiving holiday, he and his family were at Mar-a-Lago.

Candidates and interest groups have long used targeted cable ads to reach the television-obsessed Trump, often with spots in Washington and Florida, to attract his attention when he was in the White House or on vacation. Lined up. Fiore’s move reflects Trump’s lasting influence in the Republican Party after the presidency and underscores how his support is seen as a potential game-changer by Republicans embroiled in the primary battle across the country.

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Since Trump left the White House, much of the competition for his attention in Florida has ended. In one particularly vivid example, a multicolored billboard on the boulevard connecting Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago is often flashed with messages from supporters and opponents.

At the club, Trump has organized dozens of fundraisers and other events for Republicans running for the US Senate, governor and other offices, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Christy Noem and Sarah Sanders, his former press secretary. Huh. Governor of Arkansas. The venue generally guarantees a strong showing, thanks to its loyal, paid membership and Trump appears frequently, even at events he doesn’t host.

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He has also welcomed a succession of candidates seeking his support, including Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGatchin, who is running against Brad Little, the incumbent Republican Gov. Trump endorsed McGatchin a week after he visited Mar-a-Lago in November.

Fiore, a Las Vegas city councilwoman, is one of at least 10 candidates running for governor in Nevada, a swing state Trump narrowly lost in 2020.

She was elected to the Nevada Statehouse in 2012, where she supported gun rights and introduced a controversial resolution that would have dramatically curtailed federal power to manage public land and water in Nevada. His connection and support to rancher Cliven Bundy and his family during an armed standoff between self-described civilian militia members and federal law enforcement brought him to the national spotlight in 2014 and 2016.

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This year, Fiore is following a platform that includes protesting the coronavirus mandate, supporting law enforcement against protesters she calls “domestic terrorists” and Nevada’s decision to send mail-in ballots to all active voters. reverses.

Other candidates running in the June 2022 Republican primary include former US Sen. Dean Heller, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Reno Attorney Joy Gilbert, who was out of the US Capitol during last year’s rebellion. The winner will take on Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, who won in 2018 by 5.1 percentage points.

Trump’s representatives did not respond to questions about whether they had seen Fiore’s ad or planned to support a candidate in the Nevada gubernatorial race.

The Fiore campaign spent more than $100,000 airing commercials in Reno, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, where the media market extends to rural northeastern Nevada.

His campaign adviser Rory McShane said targeting Florida airwaves other than Nevada is about reminding the former president of his longtime support.

McShane said, “Many candidates are seeking Trump’s support, but, if you look back four and five years ago, the same candidates were rejecting Trump and even held anti-Trump rallies. were.” “It’s important to remind the presidential team that Michelle Fiore is the only true America’s first candidate to run for governor.”

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Heller, who told the Associated Press last week that he would also welcome Trump’s endorsement, clashed with Trump in 2017 over efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the two reconciled and campaigned together in 2018. Heller was defeated by then-US Representative Jackie Rosen. Nevada’s Senate Race.

As of 2020, Fiore is the only candidate to purchase an ad from the Comcast CMCSA for statewide office outside Florida,
+0.65%,
A cable provider in the area according to a review of FCC filings.

“This tells me that – assuming that the goal here is to be seen by former President Trump – ads are targeted at an audience of one, as opposed to an audience of thousands or even millions of voters,” said Vanderbilt University professor John. Sides, a political scientist who has written on the effects of television advertising on political campaigns.

“The calculation is that if you can get on the president’s radar screen or get his support,” Sides said, “then that support will be worth the investment of buying advertising in a media market thousands of miles away.”

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