June 18, 2020 / 1:11 PM / a month ago

Biden launches first major advertising campaign in battle against Trump

FILE PHOTO: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Biden pauses as he speaks at a presidential campaign event held at a community center in Darby, Pennsylvania U.S., June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden launched his first major advertising blitz in six battleground states on Thursday as he intensified his effort to defeat President Donald Trump in November’s election.

Biden has seen a recent surge in fundraising, giving him money to deploy, as Republican Trump has faced dropping poll numbers amid criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and mass protests against police brutality and racism.

Biden’s campaign launched a $15 million, five-week advertising effort in the six major battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, all states Trump won in 2016.

The TV and digital campaign will include English and Spanish ads in Florida and Arizona. Starting on Friday, June 19 - known as Juneteenth, when America commemorates the end of slavery - the Biden campaign will also buy ads in African American print, radio and digital programming in the six states.

The ads will be positive in nature, using Biden’s own words to portray “a voice of clarity and moral authority that the country desperately needs,” the campaign said.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign said it has received over one million ticket requests for Trump’s first campaign rally in three months, a huge event to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night. The campaign plans to use footage of the event in election ads.

Trump initially planned to hold the rally on Juneteenth, but rescheduled after a public backlash for holding it on that date and in a city known for one of the nation’s bloodiest race massacres, in 1921.

Some public health officials warned that Trump’s rally, to be held inside a 20,000-seat arena, could worsen the spread of the novel coronavirus in a state already seeing an increase in cases. The campaign said it would provide masks and hand sanitizer to attendees.

Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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