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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

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.