Bloomberg kicks off campaign with $31m ad buy and he, Steyer and Trump make up two-thirds of all ad spends
Americans will see a lot of Michael Bloomberg on TV over the next week whether they like it or not.
The former New York City mayor and multibillionaire, who confirmed on Sunday he is running for president, will break the record for the largest broadcast advertising spend in history.
The roughly $31m ad buy eclipses the record held by Barack Obama, who spent nearly $25m in the final week of the 2012 campaign, according to ad data tracking firm Advertising Analytics. Unlike Bloomberg, Obama did not pull that amount out of his own pocket: he raised it from supporters.
It comes close to the amount Tom Steyer, the other low-polling billionaire in the 2020 race, has spent on TV in almost an entire year, although it doesnt match his almost $56m total spend. Donald Trump, himself an alleged billionaire, has spent nearly $34m on ads, although only a fraction on television this year. Together they make up two-thirds of the total spent in the campaign for the presidency.
Naturally, the presence of another billionaire in the race for the White House has irked other candidates who balk at the idea of buying ones way to the presidency.
Bernie Sanders said: Im disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections.
Elizabeth Warren similarly derided Bloombergs shortcut approach.
She said: His view is that he doesnt need people who knock on doors. He doesnt need to go out and campaign, people. He doesnt need volunteers. And if you get out and knock on 1,000 doors hell just spend another $37m to flood the airwaves and thats how he plans to buy a nomination in the Democratic party. I think that is fundamentally wrong.
One of the Bloomberg ads, titled Promise, explains: Mike is running for president to beat Trump and have the wealthy pay their fair share to build an economy that works for everyone.
But many see Bloombergs entry into the race as further evidence of anxiety among the ultra-wealthy about the prospect of Sanders or Warren raising their taxes somewhat.
In five national polls that have tracked Bloombergs potential as a candidate, hes averaged only 2%, according to FiveThirtyEight. Hell need to crack 4% to qualify for the next debate on 12 December. Bloomberg has pledged not to accept any campaign donations and will reportedly spend $500m of his own money on the campaign, leaving him with a mere $52.5bn or so left over.