Feb 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Shortage of dollars, not delegates, may sink Dems

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats should be watching 2020 candidates' spending and cash flow, not their polls, to understand "more about where this race is going," trail veteran Peter Hamby writes for Vanity Fair.

Where it stands: In response to the big question of who can scale up for Super Tuesday, Bloomberg is spending the most digital and network ad money on Super Tuesday and the Rest Belt — not on early primary states, like the rest of his Democratic competitors.

The big picture: Bloomberg is betting that enough exposure — through a $300m+ ad campaign and a non-traditional run that looks past the early four states — will make him competitive in Super Tuesday, and make all Democrats stronger in the general election, per Axios' Alexi McCammond and Stef Kight.

David Axelrod, President Obama's 2008 campaign manager, told Vanity Fair: "The cost of competing across 14 states is astronomical ... For Bloomberg, the Super Tuesday ante is lunch money. He will be able to communicate at a high level everywhere."

  • "Bernie has a reliable, renewable war chest and universal recognition."
  • "[T]he others ... have to hope to catch a wave of publicity and dollars off of unexpected showings in Nevada and South Carolina."

Lily Adams, a former adviser to Sen. Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton, told Vanity Fair: "[I]f the Democrats are holding onto the precious myth that the first four states can somehow level the political playing field and lift up underdog campaigns ... they’re in for a brutal reality check..."

  • "To run a competent ballot chase program in say, California, you need real sustained money, not money you get from one good night."

The bottom line: Super Tuesday — essentially a national primary — is just three days after the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, the last of the early four.

Go deeper: Bloomberg's Super Tuesday splurge

Go deeper

Bloomberg suspends presidential campaign, endorses Biden

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg, who spent hundreds of millions of dollars to self-fund his 2020 presidential run, announced Wednesday that he is suspending his campaign after a poor performance on Super Tuesday and will endorse Joe Biden.

What he's saying: "I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden," Bloomberg said in a statement.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ad spending on 2020 primary tops $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spending on the 2020 presidential primary has officially surpassed the $1 billion mark, with more than half of that total coming from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

As 2020 Democrats launch ads for Nevada, Bloomberg homes in on Trump

Bloomberg rallies in Nashville, Tenn. on Feb. 12. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg will release three nationwide TV ads on Tuesday morning that are laser-focused on one thing: beating President Trump, whom one ad describes as "the biggest bully of all."

The big picture: 2020 Democrats face their next electoral test on Saturday in Nevada, a state with a critical Hispanic constituency. Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are releasing Spanish-language ads in the state, the New York Times and NBC News report.