Clinton airs ads on The Weather Channel as storm approaches
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hillary Clinton is airing ads on The Weather Channel as attention shifts from the 2016 campaign to the approaching hurricane.
The move has sparked some criticism from Republicans, including Jeb Bush.
“Over the past few days, our campaign made millions of dollars of adjustments and refinements to our TV buys on dozens of different cable stations in markets all across the battle ground states,” Jesse Ferguson, a Clinton spokesman, told CNN in a statement. “The Weather Channel represented less than 1% of that spending. These shifts were part of our regular updates to maximize efficiency, effectiveness and reach of our ad buy.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted Wednesday, “I encourage both presidential campaigns to be sensitive to all affected by Hurricane #Matthew in the coming days.”
He linked to a Politico article that reported Clinton will spend $63,000 on a five-day ad buy that will begin Thursday on the Weather Channel.
Kristy Campbell, Bush’s former spokeswoman, called Clinton’s ad buy “a colossally huge and unforced error.”
“This is a colossally huge and unforced error by the Clinton camp. Insensitive and will piss off Floridians,” she tweeted.
The Weather Channel is expected to get a significant increase in viewership over the next several days due to growing interest in the possibly Category 4 hurricane.
More than 2 million people have already been urged to flee their homes in the southeast due to the hurricane, which has killed at least 15 people in the Caribbean. The storm is expected to make landfall on the Florida coast Thursday.
Vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine said the Clinton campaign is concerned about the storm’s potential devastation.
“We’re very mindful of the fact that a visit at the wrong time, when people are really focused on keeping themselves safe, would be a real distraction,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.” “So we’re just going to monitor the weather as it goes, keep everybody there in our thoughts and encourage everybody to pay attention to your local emergency instructions and follow that advice. It’s very important.”
Both campaigns are focused on Florida voters due to its swing state status. Following the first presidential debate, Clinton gained ground in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday.
The Democratic nominee is leading Republican rival Donald Trump 46% to 41% in the Sunshine State.
Clinton posted a personal tweet Thursday urging Florida residents to “stay safe.” “Hurricane #Matthew is a major storm. I urge everyone to follow emergency instructions and evacuate if you’re told to. Stay safe Florida. -H,” she tweeted.
Trump, who owns a home in Palm Beach, Florida, also tweeted, “Praying for everyone in Florida. Hoping the hurricane dissipates, but in any event, please be careful.”