SALT LAKE CITY — Former New York City Mayor and billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg has yet to appear on a debate stage with other Democratic hopefuls, but it’s nearly impossible to miss his campaign ads on television or online. That’s because the three-term mayor is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to compete against President Donald Trump, who he recently called “incompetent.”
Bloomberg’s deep pockets appear to be paying off, as a poll of Florida Democrats Thursday showed him leading the pack of candidates, where 27.3% said they would vote for the billionaire, according to a poll conducted for FloridaPolitics.com.
That budding success hasn’t come without a cost. Bloomberg is now facing personal attacks from the president.
That may be a sign, however, that his candidacy should be taken seriously. Bloomberg may have bought his way into the race, but he’s now emerging as a contender as the Democratic primary moves to South Carolina, Nevada and Super Tuesday. He’s even picking up endorsements from members of Congress, including from Utah’s lone congressional Democrat.
New York City billionaires duel on Twitter
“Mini Mike Bloomberg is a LOSER who has money but can’t debate as has zero presence, you will see,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.
Ten minutes later, the president called “Mini Mike” a “mass of dead energy” who has enough money to beat Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. “Bernie’s people will go nuts,” the tweet ends.
Mini Mike is a 5’4” mass of dead energy who does not want to be on the debate stage with these professional politicians. No boxes please. He hates Crazy Bernie and will, with enough money, possibly stop him. Bernie’s people will go nuts!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2020
“We know many of the same people in NY,” Bloomberg responded moments later, “Behind your back they laugh at you and call you a carnival barking clown.”
“They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence.” Bloomberg said on Twitter. The presidential hopeful evoking a difference between the two men’s wealth — Trump’s inherited and his own earned. A personal blow against Trump who campaigned on the his own American dream of self-made success.
.@realDonaldTrump - we know many of the same people in NY. Behind your back they laugh at you & call you a carnival barking clown. They know you inherited a fortune & squandered it with stupid deals and incompetence.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 13, 2020
I have the record & the resources to defeat you. And I will. https://t.co/fO4azmZaUg
Bloomberg spends millions, skips early primaries
The Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign — read Mike Bloomberg — has spent more than $350 million on the campaign, CNN reported this week. The huge figure is almost twice what Tom Steyer’s campaign has spent ($178M) and nearly 10 times Sander’s campaign ($37M), the next two highest rollers, according to CNN.
Absent from the Bloomberg’s campaign website — and often the first thing you seen on other presidential campaign’s homepages — is anywhere to donate to the campaign, which has pledged not to take donations. Bloomberg supporters sporting buttons, T-shirts and yard signs — a typical way for campaigns to earn money — only paid Bloomberg’s cost of merchandise, according to the campaign.
The campaign has used media ads to replace their absence in early primary and caucus states and have focused on Super Tuesday.
Where is the money going?
- Television and radio: A whopping $250 million has been spent on TV and radio spots — which includes a $10 million Super Bowl ad — according to Forbes.
- Facebook: The 2020 campaign has spent $40,279,552 on “social issues, elections, or politics” ads on Bloomberg’s Facebook page — as of Friday — according to Facebook’s page transparency details. More than $9 million was spent in this last week.
- Instagram: Bloomberg has spend more than $1 million creating memes shared by Instagram “influencers,” Forbes reported. The memes are tailored to younger voters and are created with a new company called Meme 2020, which represents a collection of popular Instagram accounts, according to The New York Times.
Utah’s Rep. McAdams endorsement
Utah’s sole U.S. Congressional Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams endorsed Bloomberg as the presidential nominee in a statement January.
“Mike is someone who will listen, do what’s right, and work across party lines to get things done,” the congressman said, Deseret News reported. “As mayor, he brought people from all corners of the world together to solve big problems, and I am confident he will do the same as president.”
Andrew Roberts — McAdam’s congressional campaign manager — is also senior adviser for Bloomberg’s Utah presidential campaign, according to the Deseret News.
“I’m looking forward to working with him to bring people together and rebuild America,” Bloomberg said of McAdams on Twitter.
Utah Congressman @BenMcAdams has led on the issues central to this election: taking action to create jobs, improve education, and expand access to affordable health care for Americans.— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 31, 2020
I'm looking forward to working with him to bring people together and rebuild America. pic.twitter.com/kyisq6yKHM
Bloomberg gets a Romney bump
Lauren Littlefield — Mike for Utah’s state director — said the campaign received a bump in interest following Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s lone Republican vote to impeach the president.
“The conversation around impeachment and sort of the conversation around Sen. Romney is giving us some inroads into households, I’ll say, that maybe we wouldn’t have had before,” Littlefield said, according to the Deseret News.
“We’re hearing a lot from voters,” Littlefield said. “There’s lots of feelings around Sen. Romney’s vote.”
Utahns will get a chance to vote for their preferred primary candidate on Super Tuesday, March 3.