A coalition of outside groups paid for more than 4,300 anti-Donald Trump ads during the week before Tuesday’s primary election in Florida — all to no avail as the real estate mogul sailed to an easy victory.
In winning, Trump, whose own campaign aired 1,801 ads in the Sunshine State, dealt a death blow to Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential hopes, and in Rubio’s home state, no less. Rubio announced his exit from the race as Trump basked in victory.
The Florida battle was notable in that Rubio’s campaign committee did not pay for a single TV ad in Florida, according to a Center for Public Integrity review of preliminary data compiled by Kantar Media/CMAG, a political advertising data firm.
Instead, Rubio outsourced it: Conservative Solutions PAC sponsored all ads promoting Rubio, which also sometimes served the dual purpose of attacking Trump. As a super PAC established to support Florida’s junior U.S. senator, Conservative Solutions PAC can raise and spend money without limits.
Also leading the anti-Trump barrage was Our Principles PAC, formed in January to block Trump’s nomination. The super PAC has spent more than $14 million since forming, attacking Trump via TV ads, mailers and voter calls, according to Federal Election Commission records.