- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Once spurned by Donald Trump, pro-Trump super PACs are grinding into gear for the final two months before Election Day, hoping to narrow the financial gap with Hillary Clinton’s outside allies.

One of the groups, Rebuilding America Now, says it’s going to break the usual mold of political action committees, which run relentlessly negative ads, and will instead go positive after testing out a commercial in Ohio.

Another group, Great America PAC, is looking to provide some of the ground troops Mr. Trump lacks, saying it’s built a good database of voters in battleground states and plans to use it to try to mobilize the Trump base.

“What we’re going to do is really now start to micro-target those voters in each of those states,” said Eric Beach, co-chairman of the group. “One thing about us is we came in early, we stuck with it, and we’re the only ones that accumulated that type of data that’s going to allow us to really start targeting our messaging to those voters and we have tens of millions of those that we’ve accumulated.”

Great America PAC is also launching a bus tour through the battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado featuring actor Jon Voight and Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

The PACs readily acknowledge that Mr. Trump and his allies have been outgunned on the airwaves. As of last week, Hillary Clinton and her allies were outspending Mr. Trump and his allies by a $132 million to $28.7 million margin, according to analysis from NBC News.

Seth Weathers, Mr. Trump’s former Georgia state director who is part of the pro-Trump group, Will Not Bend PAC, said he expects to see the money even out more as the race hits the closing stretch.

“I think you’re going to see — and you already are — Trump’s going to ramp up his spending, the PACs are definitely going to ramp up theirs, I think, in a huge way in the final 45 days of the race,” he said.

Mr. Weathers said the group is getting the PAC up and running for the final stretch and is eyeing North Carolina and Virginia, which are two longtime GOP states that have recently become purple swing states.

Mr. Trump has not dissuaded the PACs from getting involved — marking a change from the GOP primary, when he said he didn’t want help from outside groups, and instead poured tens of millions of dollars of his own cash into the race. He even disavowed some of the groups, including Great America — though thanks to strict campaign rules that prohibit collaboration, he couldn’t make them stop.

Usually, that strict division allows super PACs to tread on ground where the campaigns and candidates themselves are either unwilling or unable to go.

Priorities USA Action, the main pro-Clinton super PAC that has secured more than $160 million in donations and commitments for the cycle, recently unveiled an ad that strongly implied electing Mr. Trump could trigger a nuclear war.

That makes it all the more striking that Rebuilding America has decided to go positive. Its 60-second commercial plays up Mr. Trump’s pledge to bring jobs back into the United States, saying it will be “American steel” that will fortify the country’s crumbling bridges and rebuild inner cities.

“It’ll be American hands, American workers that remake this country,” a narrator says. “We’re going to make America great again for everyone — greater than ever before.”

Curt Anderson, a longtime Republican strategist, said many voters are already well aware of the things they don’t like about Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, and a softer touch might be the difference going forward.

“If you can give somebody something they can grab a hold of, where they can say well, I still [don’t] like either one of ‘em, but at least Trump’s going to do this if we can achieve that, I think that’s probably the big key to winning this election,” Mr. Anderson said.

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