Mar 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bloomberg's historic bust

Mike Bloomberg waves to supporters in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Super Tuesday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Never in American history has a presidential candidate spent more to get less than Mike Bloomberg, making his buy-a-nomination bid a big bust. 

Why it matters: Bloomberg spent $600 million to win as many states as every American who chose not to run: zero. (He has American Samoa to show for it.)

  • Fellow billionaire Tom Steyer got off — and out — cheap by spending less than half that much to tie Bloomberg in states won.

What's next: Look for Bloomberg to drop out as soon as this morning, and try to save face by promising to spend a helluva lot more to defeat President Trump with someone other than him.

  • Bloomberg returned to New York after speaking in West Palm Beach last night. Sources expect him to address staff at his headquarters today.
  • He doesn't want history to remember him as the spoiler who helps Sanders win the nomination, or hands re-election to Trump.

What happened:

  • Bloomberg bet Joe Biden was toast. He was wrong. 
  • Bloomberg bet Democrats would rally around him as the Electable One. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet he could buy support with TV ads, while avoiding tough media interviews. He was wrong.
  • Bloomberg bet on a brokered convention. That could still happen, but he appears dead wrong that Democrats would turn to him as their savior.

Bloomberg's rivals — especially Elizabeth Warren — went after aspects of his record as a businessman and former Republican and New York mayor, and Bloomberg stumbled badly in his first debate appearance.

  • They hit him for past lawsuits and court settlements with women in the workplace, New York's stop-and-frisk policy and his views on taxes and China.
  • They seized on the Democratic base's mistrust of billionaires and the #MeToo movement and painted Bloomberg as an out-of-touch elite.

What they're saying: A nighttime Twitter thread by Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey gives the candidate an exit strategy if he wants one, and space to redefine success:.

  • Sheekey said that in just 100 days Bloomberg had gone from 1% in polls to being "a contender," and built a national coalition that can defeat Trump.

A Bloomberg campaign official told Axios that the endorsement of Biden by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), and the departures of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg from the contest, had a "profound impact" on Super Tuesday's results.

  • "I'm from New York, so I know Bloomberg," supporter Stephen Dickstein told Axios at Bloomberg's rally in West Palm Beach, Florida. "I think he has done an amazing job but he’s not gonna be the nominee."

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

Bloomberg News will return to "normal coverage" of 2020 race after Bloomberg exit

Mike Bloomberg campaigns in Orlando, Florida, on Super Tuesday. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

After Mike Bloomberg dropped his self-funded presidential run on Wednesday, Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait announced that the organization would return to its "normal coverage of the election," reports CNN's Brian Stelter.

Flashback: In November, the outlet said it would "extend its policy of not investigating" Bloomberg, its owner, "to all Democrats running for president in 2020."

Bloomberg scraps plan to create own PAC, donates $18 million to DNC

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's 2020 campaign announced Friday that he would scrap his plan to create his own PAC — which would utilize his campaign infrastructure and staff to support the Democratic nominee — and will instead donate $18 million to the DNC.

Why it matters: It's a significant reneging of a key promise from the New York billionaire, who pledged to continue to pay his campaign staff at least through November to back whoever was selected to take on President Trump.