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Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

Stories about Michael Bloomberg last week generated 9.4 million interactions on social media — more than twice his previous high. Still, he's getting lapped by Bernie Sanders, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This was the point when Bloomberg converted massive spending into significant organic interest in his campaign, but it may be no match for the Sanders grassroots army.

The big picture: Since joining the race, Bloomberg has spent his way into the national conversation, while lagging behind in organic interest.

  • But as he has climbed in the polls, he has entered the crosshairs of the national conversation — and may now be establishment Democrats' best chance at keeping the nomination away from Sanders.

Yes, but: Sanders is also moving into a new tier. His 18.5 million interactions last week were higher than any Democratic candidate has generated throughout the entire election cycle.

  • Over the last four weeks, his 50 million interactions are 20 million more than Biden, who has the second most.
  • Bloomberg's team fears that if competing moderates don't drop out, Sanders' delegate lead could become insurmountable.

By the numbers: While still far off from Sanders, Bloomberg is surging into second place by many measures.

  • In less than a month, he's erased a 22.5-point deficit and now trails by just 1.7 points in the RealClearPolitics polling average.
  • He surpassed Biden in social media interactions this week. His 9.4 million interactions were more than any candidate other than Biden or Sanders have garnered in a single week all cycle.
  • Over the last week, he has eclipsed Joe Biden for the second-most cable news and nightly network news mentions, according to the the Internet Archive Television News Archive.

Between the lines: Bloomberg's surging profile has been boosted by the volume of coverage about him.

  • In the first six weeks of his campaign from early November to mid-December — when he was polling in the low single digits — Bloomberg had 24,754 articles written about him. That compared to 17,259 for Warren, 11,954 for Sanders, 5,242 for Buttigieg and 2,243 for Klobuchar.

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

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Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

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In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.