Jennifer Carroll Foy’s gubernatorial campaign says they are going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital advertising campaigns targeting Democratic voters ahead of the June 8 primary.  

Facebook just lifted its ban on political ads in early-March and Democratic gubernatorial candidates have been spending small amounts to advertise on the social media site. Carroll Foy reported having $1.2 million cash on hand at the end of 2020 and she is now looking to quickly ramp up the spending.

“Our campaign is excited to be the first in this race to make a several hundred thousand dollar investment in digital persuasion ads to meet voters where they are and introduce them to Jenn’s historic candidacy and her fight for working families,” said Sharon Yang, communications director for Carroll Foy. “This comes on the heels of the strong start to the campaign’s robust organizing program which is building the diverse, grassroots coalition necessary to power this campaign to victory in June.”

Facebook reports that Carroll Foy has spent $2,059 in the last seven days.

The specifics from one of Carroll Foy’s two active ad campaigns on Facebook.

After reporting over $5 million cash on hand at the end of 2020, Terry McAuliffe launched a digital ad back in early-January and has been advertising on Facebook with more than 30 currently-active small-dollar ads. McAuliffe’s largest investment on the site is an ad campaign totaling more than $3,500 that began March 15 and is still active. His second-largest active advertising campaign totals less than $700. In total, McAuliffe has spent $13,216 on Facebook ads in the last seven days.

Jennifer McClellan has two Facebook ad campaigns with overall Facebook ad spending totaling less than $1,000.

“While there is no official incumbent, McAuliffe is the closest we have to one,” said Richard Meagher, associate professor of political science at Randolph Macon College. “Carroll Foy is running a classic challenger campaign, trying to take on the ‘incumbent’ while fending off other challengers. Her biggest problem is name recognition, it’s not a bad strategy to try something new.” 

The final two Democratic candidates for governor, Lee Carter and Justin Fairfax, currently have no active advertising campaigns on Facebook. 

“Digital is a terrific tool to target voters, but only when it works in conjunction with other necessary campaign components like TV, radio, field, mail etc,” said a digital campaign consultant. “That being said, name ID is about brute force of message and volume. There is no cheat codes for quick name ID.”

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By vascope