The presidential campaign of Vivek Ramaswamy, the conspiracy-loving biotech entrepreneur staging an upstart Republican run for president, has paused spending on TV advertisements, an unusual move at a critical juncture in the GOP White House primary.
But Ramaswamy’s campaign said that reducing its presence on broadcast and cable TV will allow it to pour resources into digital ad buys that it suggested would lead to a staggering upset win for the candidate Jan. 15 in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Ramaswamy appears to be far behind in the state, and political analysts see no pathway to victory for him.
“We are not spending on broadcast/cable. We are spending on digital,” Tricia McLaughlin, a campaign spokeswoman, said in a text message to the Daily News on Wednesday, adding that the candidate continues to appear in some TV ads.
“Get ready for a major upset on Jan. 15,” McLaughlin wrote, “and good luck to the political consultants who are reliant on traditional ad spending to line their pockets.”
She wrote that the campaign’s overall spending levels remain steady, but that the campaign determined the best way to reach voters is through “mail, text, live calls” and door-knocking. She acknowledged that the approach is novel, but said that it would make the campaign more nimble.
There is little indication Ramaswamy has a chance to win in Iowa. He trails Donald Trump, the 45th president and the overwhelming favorite in the Republican primary race, by 44 points in Iowa, according to the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregator.
Nationally, Ramaswamy appears to sit in a distant fourth in the primary, well behind Nikki Haley, the relatively moderate former South Carolina governor, and Ron DeSantis, the right-wing governor of Florida.
DeSantis, apparently running in second behind Trump, trails the 77-year-old by almost 50 points nationally, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Ramaswamy, 38, who has characterized climate change as a hoax and espouses an inward-looking American foreign policy, has forged a rivalry with Haley, a foreign policy hawk who has called Ramaswamy “scum.”
“The MSM is desperately trying to count me out,” he wrote on social media, referring to the mainstream media. “Don’t fall for their trick. We will shock the world on Jan 15.”
Not everyone was sold.
“Vivek has gone further than anyone thought possible,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Texas-based GOP strategist. “That said, him winning Iowa would be the single biggest earthquake in the history of the Iowa caucuses.”
“Based on every metric in the last 25 years that has predicted success in the Iowa caucuses, his pathway just doesn’t appear to be there,” Mackowiak said.
Ryan Frederick, GOP chairman in Adair County in southwestern Iowa, said he did not know anyone supporting Ramaswamy. He said he could not envision the candidate pulling an upset on Jan. 15 in the Hawkeye State.
“I don’t know anyone personally who’s voting for Vivek Ramaswamy,” Frederick said by phone. “I really don’t.”