The twin offensives underscore how the 2024 Republican presidential primary is already underway even as Trump is battling for a second term. Republicans with future national aspirations are hitting early primary states, jockeying to win the favor of major donors, and auditioning before conservative activists.
Cotton has started running a hard-hitting spot in Ohio targeting Joe Biden over his policies toward China. He is expected to ramp it up even further with a forthcoming commercial assailing the former vice president for his criticism of Trump’s response to the coronavirus, which is thought to have originated in the country. Scott has run a pair of commercials, one in Iowa going after Biden on his family’s ties to Ukraine and the other in his home state, savaging Bernie Sanders for his past praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Aside from getting Trump’s back, Cotton and Scott are using the spots to introduce themselves to voters. Both appear prominently: While Scott is face-to-camera, Cotton’s features a side-by-side shot of him with the president. Cotton, an Iraq War veteran, is seen wearing combat uniform with a machine gun strapped to his chest.