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Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC starts spending its cash on ads in three early voting states

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One of the reasons why many people thought that Jeb Bush would be the man to beat for the Republican nomination for president was his ability to raise a lot of money from the donors class.

Early on in his campaign, advisers talked about a “shock and awe” fundraising strategy that would blow away virtually every other candidate in the race. And in July those predictions came true, when Right to Rise, his super PAC, announced that it raised over $100 million.

Now it’s time to spend some of that money.

ThDes Moines Register reports that Right to Rise has booked $5.89 million in advertising in Iowa, the site of the first vote in the race next winter, with those ads running for months leading up to the caucuses on February 1. It’s part of a $24 million campaign that Right to Rise is launching in New Hampshire and South Carolina as well, the two states that hold primaries immediately after the Iowa caucuses.

“It’s a muscular buy for a muscular story,” says Mike Murphy, who runs Right to Rise.

Murphy says that the unexpected surge of support for front-runner Donald Trump has nothing to do with the campaign’s plans to begin airing ads, saying that now is the time to begin telling the story of the former Florida governor’s accomplishments.

The Register reports that Murphy didn’t rule out future attack ads that would “respectfully” point out differences with other GOP rivals, but said that isn’t the focus right now.

The Bush ads will run in Iowa on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox News, Hallmark, HGTV, History, TBS and USA, and on the Big Ten Network for Iowa football games this fall.

Changing the narrative can’t come quickly enough for Bush, who is struggling in every major poll, both nationally and in Iowa and New Hampshire. A CBS News/New York Times poll released on Tuesday shows Bush tied for third place with Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee at 6 percent support. That’s 21 percentage points behind front-runner Trump, who is at 27 percent in the polls. Dr. Ben Carson is second with 23 percent.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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