Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at a rally.
Photograph by Mark Wallheiser—Getty Images
By Tom Huddleston Jr.
November 5, 2015

Donald Trump has boasted often about how he doesn’t need to spend money on advertising due to the media’s ceaseless coverage of his presidential campaign. Well, now the billionaire real estate mogul and GOP presidential hopeful is finally paying for some airtime.

Trump’s campaign announced Wednesday night that the former reality television star’s first campaign advertisements would be unveiled this morning before airing regularly in three early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina — over the next couple of weeks. Both radio ads debuted Thursday morning on MSNBC’s (CMCSA) Morning Joe.

The ads contain a lot of the same campaign promises that Trump has previously touted, including his proposal to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border that he claims Mexico will fund as well as building up the U.S. military: “I’ll take care of our veterans and make our military so strong that nobody will mess with us,” Trump says in one ad. He also directly addresses residents of Iowa, who will submit primary votes in the 2016 Iowa caucuses in just three months: “If the people of Iowa vote for me, you’ll never be disappointed. I don’t disappoint people. I produce.”

Trump’s campaign said the ad campaign is valued at $300,000, which is still a far cry from the amount Trump has claimed he could be spending on ads. He has said in interviews that he earmarked roughly $20 million for campaign ads, but that he hadn’t needed to spend anything until now because so many television and radio networks give him free airtime in the form of news and talk show appearances. He’ll get even more airtime this weekend, when he’s set to host Saturday Night Live on NBC — a gig that has drawn criticism from Trump’s opponents, as well as various activist groups, while also sparking concerns over possible FCC violations.

While that strategy seemed to be working for the first few months of his campaign, when Trump established himself as the Republican party’s presidential frontrunner, he has more recently lost ground to rivals such as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has surpassed Trump in some polls.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he is self-funding his campaign, but a campaign filing submitted to the government last month showed that the majority of his campaign spending over the summer was funded by individual donors.

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