Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and other aides told about 50 Capitol Hill Republicans on a conference call Tuesday that he would begin advertisements in five states, according to a congressional source. The spots will air in five states, according to a Trump adviser: Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania -- all places where Trump is trailing solidly.
Republicans close to the campaign do not expect a major advertising push until September.
The Wall Street Journal first reported
the advertising buy. Trump spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump so far has been belatedly bolstered on television principally by three outside groups: Two pro-Trump super PACs, Rebuilding America Now and Great America PAC, along with the National Rifle Association. Yet those forces only spent about $15 million since the Republican primary ended. Campaigns pay significantly lower rates than do outside groups for the same amount of airtime.
Clinton and her allies meanwhile have spent over $105 million since the conclusion of the Democratic primary on radio and television.
Trump only 10 days ago had said it was a "little early" to spend money, though his campaign has defied convention for months by not competing on television. Trump advisers and allies have argued that his command of earned media meant that he did not need to purchase as much television time as Clinton needed.
"We don't want to go too fast. Nice and easy. You know, like the old race horse," Trump said in Windham, New Hampshire. "Who knows, who knows. Maybe I'm making a mistake."
Trump, who self-funded his primary campaign, lacked a financial infrastructure for much of the summer, leaving him without enough money to buy general election spots. Trump won the crowded Republican primary with substantially less television advertising than did his rivals, all of whom were also backed by super PACs.
Thanks to a surge of small donors, Trump's campaign now had $37 million on hand at the beginning of the month, his campaign said, more than enough to place a major buy. The Republican National Committee has also not ruled out
television purchases, which would be a major departure from the RNC's traditional general election role.