Ramaswamy halts television advertising weeks out from Iowa caucuses

Iowa's caucuses are on Jan. 15.

December 27, 2023, 12:14 PM

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy's presidential campaign is halting its television advertising just weeks out from Iowa's caucuses on Jan. 15.

The move suggests a rejiggering of the campaign's investments heading into a crucial stretch in the GOP presidential primary, though it maintains it is still spending money in other ways to improve its standing with voters.

"Our spending levels haven’t changed -- we’re just following the data. We are focused on bringing out the voters we’ve identified -- best way to reach them is using addressable advertising, mail, text, live calls and doors to communicate with our voters on Vivek’s vision for America, making their plan to caucus and turning them out," campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin said in a statement.

"As you know, this isn’t what most campaigns look like. We have intentionally structured this way so that we have ability to be nimble and hyper targeted in our ad spending," she added. "Get ready for a major upset on Jan. 15 and good luck to the political consultants who are reliant on traditional ad spending to line their pockets."

Still, such a campaign shift away from a traditional tactic could raise eyebrows before Iowa's caucuses and New Hampshire's primary on Jan. 23, especially after the Ramaswamy campaign boasted in November that it would spend over $10 million on advertising across multiple platforms.

The move could also help other GOP primary contenders surpass Ramaswamy in advertising in the home stretch to the party's first nominating contests.

Ramaswamy over the summer enjoyed a surge of attention and momentum, particularly after his combative performance in the first primary debate. Since then, however, he has stagnated in the early states while still hammering away at far-right and conspiratorial talking points, including suggesting without evidence the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection was an "inside job."

Ramaswamy now sits at a distant fourth in 538's polling average in Iowa and fifth in 538's polling average in New Hampshire.

Still, his vocal support for Donald Trump has earned him plaudits from the former president, who wrote on his Truth Social platform Tuesday that Ramaswamy will "Endorse me" but "is not done yet!"