Feb 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bloomberg to double TV ad spending amid Iowa uncertainty

Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg on Tuesday authorized his 2020 presidential campaign to capitalize on the uncertainty of the Iowa caucuses result by doubling television advertising spending and expanding staff in the field to 2,000 people, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Bloomberg is skipping the four early contests in February and hoping to make a national splash on Super Tuesday on March 3. By positioning himself as a moderate best suited to defeat Trump, the billionaire and former New York mayor would stand to benefit from no clear front-runner emerging from the early contests.

The state of play: Bloomberg's advertising bump will be massive, as he spent more than $130 million on television ads during the last quarter of 2019 — despite not officially entering the race until the end of November.

  • He has rapidly become the 2020 candidate to spend the most on ads, dwarfing the rest of the field in a short amount of time.
  • Bloomberg has also built a vast team on the ground in order to provide a strong foundation in key battleground states, like North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has promised that his campaign apparatus will back the eventual Democratic nominee — even if it's not him.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Bloomberg's campaign said it will have 800 full- and part-time staff and 20 field offices in California by the time it votes on Super Tuesday — a figure no other campaign will be able to match.

  • Worth noting: California has 415 delegates to Iowa's 41.

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Bloomberg's big bet on the power of money

Data: Advertising Analytics, FEC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Michael Bloomberg’s prolific spending aims to make him as legitimate and familiar as his rivals. It also confronts two realities: President Trump is out-raising all the other Democrats with ease, and the Democratic National Committee is anemic.

Why it matters: 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.

Bloomberg says he hopes Sanders changes

Bloomberg stands by his campaign bus after speaking at an event in Compton Monday. Photo: Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Torrance Daily Breeze via Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg tells me he'd support Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump if those were his two options, but that people should understand Sanders at this moment is "so far to the left it's not practical" and that "what he wants to do would never get through Congress."

Why this matters: While Bloomberg's also seeking the Democratic nomination, he's committed to supporting whoever wins it.

Bloomberg's Super Tuesday splurge

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg is funneling more than a third of his massive advertising war chest into the 14 states voting on Super Tuesday, data from Advertising Analytics shows.

Why it matters: While most candidates are focusing their dollars and efforts on early primary states, the Democratic presidential candidate has his eyes set on the states he thinks he can win — and those with the most delegates.