This article originally appeared in the Washington Post.
The super PAC allied with Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign has the largest piggy bank in American politics — but it’s now planning to start spending some of the money.
Right to Rise USA is preparing to make an eight-figure ad buy in the early primary states. Starting Monday, the group plans to begin making media buys in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, it announced Sunday.
The ads in New Hampshire and Iowa would start airing Sept. 15, with ads in South Carolina coming the week of Sept. 21. The ad campaign would run through December.
“We have best story to tell. Ads do that well,” Mike Murphy, the head of Right to Rise USA, said in an e-mail on Sunday confirming the news.
News of the group’s ad campaign was first reported by the Associated Press.
Word of the ad buys comes as Bush has slipped in recent polls taken in New Hampshire and Iowa. While he has maintained a second-place spot among Republican candidates in New Hampshire, other opponents, including businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, have snatched the lead (in the case of Trump) or come up quickly in the ranks after the first Republican presidential debate (in the cast of Kasich). In Iowa, Bush remains mired in the middle of the pack, most recently at 5 percent, as Trump and other rivals have surged.
But none of those other candidates have Right to Rise USA and its unprecedented resources.
The group brought in more than $103 million between January and June, a record-setting sum that signaled that Bush will have significant financial support for the long haul of his campaign.
The super PAC is led by Mike Murphy, who advised Bush’s gubernatorial elections and helped the candidate until June with his early preparations for the campaign. His base of operations is Los Angeles, where he’s joined by a team of roughly a dozen political and media experts, but he spent part of last week traveling on the East Coast.
The organization has spent about $200,000 on carefully targeted online ads — including some published to the video-sharing site Vine — that are appearing mostly in the Facebook feeds of targeted voters.
Like the online advertising, the television spots are expected to strike a positive tone and serve as a way to introduce voters to Bush and his record as a two-term Republican governor of Florida. But the group is also expected to eventually air attack ads against some of Bush’s opponents.
Bush helped launch the super PAC in January and set off on an aggressive fundraising schedule that included tapping a donor list cultivated by his extended family for more than four decades. The move gave him a unique advantage over those Republican presidential rivals who as federal officeholders are barred from launching and being so directly involved in a super PAC. The fundraising swing also allowed Bush to begin making campaign-style appearances across the country, all while claiming that he was still only pondering a presidential bid.
But once he announced plans to formally launch a campaign in June, Bush severed ties to the group as required by law, leaving it to Murphy and his team to manage for the duration of the campaign.
When asked this month about his involvement with Right to Rise, Bush made no apologies, telling a group of wealthy donors, “You might as well front-load it if you can.”
“This is a long haul,” he said during a question-and-answer session at a conference held by the Koch political network in California. He added later, “I’m playing the rules of the game, the way it’s laid out. And if people don’t like it, that’s just tough luck.”