How Trump’s Billion-Dollar Campaign Lost Its Cash Advantage

Some party officials defended the early spending as a prudent investment, including money devoted to the expansive ground operation and an online network of donors that was setting fund-raising records. The G.O.P. has more than 2,000 staff members across 100 offices and claims that volunteers knock on one million doors per week; the Biden campaign has forgone door-knocking so far during the pandemic.

“The Biden campaign is hoarding money and hoping that fall TV ads help put them over the edge,” said Richard Walters, chief of staff for the R.N.C. “But when a state comes down to 10,700 votes like Michigan did in 2016, we think that direct voter contact — those millions of door knocks and phone calls we make each week — is going to be critical.”

The Trump campaign has undertaken its own financial review of spending under Mr. Parscale. Among the first changes implemented was shutting down an ad campaign that had used Mr. Parscale’s personal social media accounts to deliver pro-Trump ads. More than $800,000 had been poured into boosting Mr. Parscale’s Facebook and Instagram pages; those ads ceased the day after he was removed as campaign manager.

Mr. Parscale said the Facebook page was “not my idea” and the “family’s direct approval” had been sought on the program.

“I built an unprecedented infrastructure with the Republican Party under this family’s leadership since 2016,” Mr. Parscale said in a statement to The Times. “I am proud of my achievements.”

Some campaign spending choices appear devised, at least in part, to satisfy Mr. Trump himself, including the Super Bowl ads, which were purchased as part of an advertising arms race with Mr. Bloomberg, who soon afterward dropped out of the Democratic primary. The two ads cost more than the Trump campaign spent combined on local television through the end of July in four battleground states: Wisconsin ($3.9 million), Michigan ($3.6 million), Iowa ($2 million) and Minnesota ($1.3 million).

Another Trump-pleasing expense: more than $1 million in ads aired in the Washington, D.C., media market, a region that is not likely to be competitive in the fall but where the president, a famously voracious television consumer, resides.