Jumping the gun? General election ads from Hillary super PAC air this week

Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) and U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton  © Reuters
Hillary Clinton hasn’t yet clinched the Democratic nomination, but a pro-Clinton political group is already preparing to air general election ads worth millions of dollars in several states.

The advertisements from the Priorities USA super PAC will target presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump between May 18 and June 8, CNN reported. The group will spend $6 million to air the ads in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.

It is currently unknown how Priorities USA will try to target Trump, since the content of the ads has not been released or described.

“Donald Trump is a divisive, dangerous, con man who should never be President of the United States,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the super PAC, to CNN.

The decision to begin airing general election ads is notable considering Clinton’s rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is still running – and still scoring victories, for that matter. Sanders defeated Clinton in the West Virginia Democratic Primary, and could still win contests in Oregon and Kentucky.

Sanders has pledged to stay in the race until the Democratic convention in July, forcing Clinton to continue to focus her campaign against him and raise money for primary contests.

Nonetheless, the former secretary of state has been closing in on the nomination. Clinton needs 143 more delegates to clinch, according to Associated Press data, while Sanders is more than 900 delegates short. More than 500 of Clinton’s 2,240 delegates are party officials and insiders who can line up behind any candidate, while just 40 of the so-called superdelegates have pledged to support Sanders, who has 1,473 delegates in total.

Priorities USA hopes its new ads will begin to define Trump ahead of the general election, since Clinton cannot yet pivot while competing against Sanders. The group has budgeted some $130 million for general election ads, including $35 million for digital advertising.

According to Mother Jones, the PAC will try to motivate core constituencies, including millennials, African-American women, and Latinos, to get out and vote. The ads themselves will likely be a combination of attack pieces against Trump and positive messaging about Clinton.

“We don’t think the election’s going to be easy,” Anne Caprara, Prioties’ executive director, told Mother Jones. “We think it’s going to be a competitive race. But we’re not scared of [Trump], either. We think that there’s a lot of material out there, obviously.”

Since winning the New York primary, Clinton has attacked Trump more than previously, calling him a “loose cannon” and branding his proposals for stopping Mexican and Muslim immigration as “hateful.” Over the past week, she has also attacked Trump for refusing to release his tax returns.