WASHINGTON -- Bernie Sanders' campaign plans to spend more than $30 million on TV advertising alone in the first four presidential nominating states and California, according to several people familiar with the strategy, a financial show of force that also suggests he needs to reach outside the traditional sphere of Democratic primary voters and caucusgoers for support.
Sanders, the senator from Vermont, has been on the air in Iowa since early October, when his campaign spent $1.3 million on television advertising, and has bought $1 million of TV time in New Hampshire beginning Thursday.
The campaign has so far largely flouted traditional politicking, wagering instead on robust on-the-ground organizing to bring new voters into the political process.
But in earmarking tens of millions of dollars for television advertising between now and Super Tuesday in early March, the campaign is following a more established and analog path to accomplish what it says is the same aim.
"He brings regular people into the process who are not currently participating," said Jeff Weaver, a Sanders adviser, who is leading the TV-centric strategy. "You need to be reaching people in a nonpolitical space. To find people who are not going to caucus, you have to be in spaces where they are, and that's on television."
The campaign is producing its television ads in-house.
The advertising blitz comes as two of his main rivals, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, have opened more field offices in Iowa than has Sanders. Instead, Sanders has built a network that allows supporters to connect with one another online, without going to a field office. These same people are more likely to see his message on television, aides said.
The campaign is also betting on a tactic that it used in 2016, known as distributed organizing, that relies heavily on a vast web of volunteers. The hope is that they will motivate other supporters, especially unlikely or first-time voters.
Claire Sandberg, the Sanders campaign's national organizing director, said in an interview last month that her aim was to reach "all of the people who have given up on the political process and talking to them about what matters to them and then encouraging them to come out and vote."