Stills from Bloomberg's ad campaign
Michael Bloomberg's final decision on a presidential run is "days, not weeks" away, a person familiar with his thinking tells Axios — with an announcement expected before Thanksgiving.
Driving the news: The source said the billionaire and former New York mayor's funding of a $100 million, digital, anti-Trump ad series is "a step toward running for Mike, not a step away from running," and that “he is actively preparing."
The ad campaign, first reported by the New York Times, is aimed at helping whoever wins the Democratic nomination by beginning general election spending now to target Trump early in the battleground states.
- The first of these ads are expected to go live by Monday.
- One still image previewed to Axios addresses Trump's use of social media, saying, "A tweet shouldn't threaten our country's security" and "tantrums are not presidential. You shouldn't have to worry about what he'll say on Twitter."
- Another depicts Trump and Republicans laughing in the White House Rose Garden and says that when it comes to protecting Americans with pre-existing health conditions, "Trump doesn't care."
The digital ads initially are focusing on voters in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — three states where Trump's narrow victories in 2016 cost Hillary Clinton the presidency — and in Arizona, which Bloomberg considers ripe for a Democratic pickup. They could expand to other states.
- The idea is to help the Democratic field compete with the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee's fundraising juggernaut, which reported $156 million in cash on hand last month.
- The Times noted the ad campaign will make Bloomberg the "single biggest spender in the presidential race" -- whether or not he gets in himself.
The bottom line: If Bloomberg gets in, his ability to compete financially against Trump will be one of his strongest arguments for electability.