Kerry Set to Launch $45 Mil. Ad Push

NEW YORK Previewing its fall strategy, John Kerry’s presidential campaign said it will buy $45 million worth of commercial time in 20 states through election day, including spots on cable TV and advertising geared toward minorities.

The buy is timed to coincide with the conclusion of President Bush’s nominating convention as the Democrat seeks to curb the Republican incumbent’s momentum. The first spots will be broadcast in 10 states, which were not disclosed by the Kerry campaign.

Kerry representative Stephanie Cutter said the purchasing strategy calls for the remaining 10 states to be added by Nov. 2. She said the ads would run on cable as well as black and Hispanic media.

Kerry is targeting the oft-mentioned battleground states of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington state, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The campaign will make the ad buy today, but campaign officials would not say how much it plans to spend in each state.

The early purchase has some political and financial benefits, but it comes with some risk: Bush now has an early road map of Kerry’s Electoral College strategy.

Matthew Dowd, the Bush campaign’s chief strategist, criticized Kerry’s campaign for tipping its hand. “It’s laughable that they announce. They have no real message or vision other than process stories,” he said.

Upon accepting the nomination last month, Kerry received $75 million in federal funds for the fall campaign. Bush will get the same amount later this week.

The $45 million ad buy is about half of what Kerry has to spend for the remainder of the campaign. Besides the taxpayers’ money, Kerry and Bush control another $15 million or so in money spent by their respective parties.

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