Trump campaign slashes TV ads in Minnesota, trails in polls

US President Donald Trump looks out from the Truman Balcony upon his return to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center, where he underwent treatment for Covid-19, in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2020. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP) (Photo by … ((Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

President Donald Trump's campaign has slashed its TV ads in the Twin Cities by nearly 90 percent this week, and has been unable to cut into rival Joe Biden's lead in polls here.

The move continues a five-week trend of cutbacks in Minnesota. Trump's campaign is now on pace to spend just a fraction of the $14 million originally promised to blanket the Minnesota airwaves this fall. 

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The Trump campaign had originally booked 422 ads this week on two TV stations that have reported to the Federal Communications Commission, but has cut back to 58 spots on those stations, an 87 percent reduction.

Last week's numbers were similar. Trump's team originally committed to airing 634 ads across three stations, before cutting back to 97, an 85 percent decrease.
 
While the data are not yet complete, the Trump campaign once appeared poised to spend more than $5 million on TV in the Twin Cities market from Sept. 8 through the end of this week. The campaign's actual spending over that period has been slightly more than $1 million.

The president's campaign schedule has ramped up in Minnesota, even has his team has cut back on TV. Trump has visited the state three times since August -- including a rally last week in Duluth before a coronavirus infection forced him from the campaign trail and briefly left him hospitalized.

Vice President Mike Pence has also visited the state twice in recent weeks. Members of the Trump family have campaigned here, too.

Minnesota hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1972, but Trump targeted the state this year after losing to Democrat Hillary Clinton by 1.5 points in 2016. 

Biden had originally planned to spend significantly less than Trump on Minnesota ads. The former vice president's campaign has more closely tracked with its original spending projections. 

Biden has made one in-person campaign visit in Minnesota, coming last month in Duluth. Running mate Kamala Harris has not campaigned here in person.