COLUMBIA — Lowcountry congressional candidate Katie Arrington released her first television ads of the 2022 Republican primary with a pair of 15- and 30-second spots that lean heavily on her endorsement from former President Donald Trump.
The ads, released by the campaign May 10, paint a picture of Arrington as an independent voice in Congress in sharp contrast to her opponent, incumbent 1st District Rep. Nancy Mace, who is pictured alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as examples of politicians "only out to serve themselves."
The 30-second ad emphasizes campaign promises Arrington made to term-limit herself, reject congressional health care benefits (she will be covered by her husband's health insurance, she has said) and to donate her salary to charity.
Both ads focus heavily on her endorsement by the former president.
"Katie Arrington is a fighter for South Carolina," Trump says twice in a row in the 15-second spot in video from his February stump appearance in Florence.
The advertisements will be backed by a "six-figure ad buy," according to a statement from her campaign, and air in the Charleston and Savannah media markets.
Advertising buys posted to the Federal Communications Commission website May 10 showed Arrington's campaign purchasing air time at several Charleston-area television stations running primarily in the early morning and ahead of prime time, typically during local news broadcasts.
The campaign did not respond to questions seeking specifics around how much money would be spent from the nearly $755,000 war chest Arrington reported at the start of April, which included more than a half-million dollars of her own money.
The May 10 launch appears to be the first significant advertising expenditure by the campaign as the GOP primary enters its final month. FCC public documents show only a handful of recent expenditures this cycle, and just under $7,000 in advertising purchased on Facebook, according to advertising data published by the social media site's parent company, Meta.
Meanwhile, her main opponent, Mace, spent nearly half that amount in the first week of May, with a typical reach of 10,000 to 60,000 impressions per post, according to metadata. Most of the ads are focused on the people who endorsed her or are attacking Arrington, whom the campaign describes as "Crooked Katie" in one $1,500 ad spend.
Mace was on TV last week in a new ad featuring former Gov. Nikki Haley reiterating her support for the incumbent 1st District congresswoman.
Other candidates running in South Carolina have found success via other sources. In South Carolina's 7th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, R-Myrtle Beach, has spent thousands in television and social media advertising to counter messaging from his principal opponent, the Trump-endorsed Russell Fry, who has focused his efforts on television and social media as the campaign seeks to push the race into a runoff.
Rice's most successful message wasn't his own: A video of him defending his vote to impeach Trump during a May 5 debate in Florence was picked up and promoted by the Republican Accountability Project, a political organization founded by longtime Republican commentator William Kristol that seeks to unseat Republicans who have defended the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
The video has amassed more than 1 million views on Twitter.