With 3 weeks left, Clinton buys TV ads in Texas

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves after taking the stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Thursday, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump heats up in Texas, Clinton’s campaign is putting money behind television advertisements in the hopes of tightening the gap even further.

Clinton’s campaign announced earlier this week that a 30-second commercial will air for one week in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, while also appearing online. According to KXAN’s media partner, the Texas Tribune, Clinton’s campaign has booked ads in Texas worth at most $100,000, according to a GOP source. The ad touts the Dallas Morning News’ endorsement of Clinton—the first time the newspaper backed a Democrat for president since 1940.

In Austin, Clinton’s campaign purchased six local commercial slots with KXAN. All of the ads are slated to air between Thursday, Oct. 20 and Monday, Oct. 24. Federal Communications Commission records for the other TV stations in Austin do not indicate any recent Clinton campaign purchases. Trump’s campaign has not purchased any local advertisements with KXAN, but has purchased national spots in syndicated programming that airs on KXAN.

Most political experts agree this small ad buy won’t cause Texas to shift towards being blue, it is still significant that a Democratic presidential candidate is even spending money in Texas.

“It takes millions of dollars to drive a single message across those markets,” said national GOP media consultant Erik Potholm in an email to Texas Tribune. “If they are running $100k in those cities, it’s just a media hit, not designed to actually move voters.”

Texas is America’s largest conservative state and the voters haven’t voted Democratic in a presidential race since Jimmy Carter in 1976. The Republicans, meanwhile, haven’t lost a statewide office in Texas since 1994, the nation’s longest political winning streak.

The latest poll from the University of Houston shows Trump leading in Texas over Clinton by three points – within the margin of error. But 16 percent of those polled stated they were still undecided. A big shift from previous elections where a Republican nominee for President has won Texas by at least 11 points. And that has many political experts looking down the ballot at a possible change in statewide elections where all 150 seats in the Texas House are up for reelection.

With additional reporting by the Associated Press

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