WASHINGTON — Behind in the polls and the race for money, Republican Senate candidate Tom Campbell has dropped his plan to run network television advertisements statewide, an admission that the campaign is in dire financial shape as the campaign enters its final days.
It's bad news for the former congressman and good news for Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard and the frontrunner in the race. She led Campbell by a 38 percent to 23 percent margin in the latest Los Angeles Times/USC poll, released Sunday.
"We had a buy reserved through the end of the campaign, and we canceled," said Jamie Fisfis, Campbell's spokesman. "We pulled it. That doesn't mean that we won't rebuy some of it, but we're not up today. It was a financial decision."
Campbell actually outraised Fiorina in the last reporting period, which covered April 1-May 19. But Fiorina, a millionaire, loaned her campaign an extra $3 million to get her through the final weeks. She has been advertising statewide in recent weeks, at the same time that her poll numbers have been rising.
"TV seems to be driving everything," said Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book, which analyzes state and federal races.
Unlike previous years, he said, newspaper advertisements and direct mail appear to be carrying little weight. "It's all about TV," he said.
Fisfis said the campaign has raised some money in recent days and is considering all of its options to make its case in the closing days of the race. If the campaign does television advertising, he said, it could include ads on cable stations.
"It's not accurate to say it's settled whether or not we'll be back on TV," he said. "But we're not on today. That is settled." He said decisions would be made "day to day."
"We don't have the funds that Carly has right now so we're just trying to be as strategic about it as possible," he said.
In the final days, Campbell will argue that he is the candidate best positioned to defeat Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in November.
"It's not an argument that needs a lot of drama and TV points behind it," Fisfis said. "It kind of sells itself or it doesn't. We're doing our best to push that out through the means we have."