Anti-Trump Republicans are preparing to launch a broadcast TV ad in a handful of swing-state suburbs urging Donald Trump to quit the Presidential race so the Party can replace him with a more electable nominee.
The ad, titled "Keep Your Word," features footage of Trump during the Republican Primary in which he suggested he'd drop out if he saw his poll numbers decline.
The 30-second spot is marked for a limited run on broadcast networks in suburban Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan, according to Regina Thomson, a Colorado Republican activist and leader of Free the Delegates, the organization that failed to stop Trump's nomination at last month's National Convention. All four states are central to Trump's path to the White House, though he's trailing in most polls of those states.
The ad is backed by a five-figure buy, according to Thomson, but the group hopes to eventually expand its run to Fox News Channel. It's initially set to air on broadcast news channels beginning Tuesday. It's marked for the four states' suburban media markets, according to Free the Delegates, because they're areas that typically lean Republican but appear to be tilting in Hillary Clinton's favor this year.
The spot was produced by NOVA Digital Films, a Virginia-based firm that lists a slew of conservative candidates and organizations as clients, including Americans for Prosperity, the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List and former Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli.
The firm also lists the Republican Party of Virginia as a client, but Chairman John Whitbeck told POLITICO Sunday that he has no record of the Party doing business with the firm and has requested that it be removed from NOVA Digital's website. NOVA Digital's Greg Letiecq said he'd done work with the Party for years, though not as much since Bob McDonnell's 2009 Gubernatorial run, and suggested the Party's records may have him listed under the name Beehive Sites or under his personal name, rather than under NOVA.
The Trump campaign dismissed the effort as the last remnants of a dying NeverTrump movement.
“The 'Never Trump’ movement died at the Republican Convention after it was revealed that they were nothing more than press releases and Facebook posts. The reality is, Republicans and non-Republican voters alike are rapidly uniting behind Donald Trump’s candidacy as people look for a real change agent who isn’t afraid to break up the rigged system," said Trump Campaign spokesman Jason Miller.
Replacing Trump as the Republican nominee has largely been considered a fever dream of Conservative and GOP establishment holdouts bitter over Trump's takeover of the Party in the spring. Trump has given no indication that he's considering leaving the race, and Party leaders have rallied behind him since he forced his last remaining rivals out of the race in May.
But Trump is also facing significant headwinds on his way to November. Polls show him trailing in virtually every swing state, sometimes by yawning margins, to Clinton. He's also in close contests to win traditionally red states like Arizona and Georgia. But Trump's backers are hopeful that increasing scrutiny of Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, especially any access she granted to donors to the Clinton Foundation, will help pull him back into contention.
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