The Bloomberg effect: large expenditures change the campaign dynamics for 2020


The candidate has spent $ 217 million on television and digital advertising so far, largely ignoring the Democratic primary and challenging President Trump. The total makes up about three quarters of the total spending on all other campaigns, including that of Mr. Trump.

It's the game plan that the billionaire used in his New York City Mayor campaign in 2001 when he outperformed his rivals by almost 5 to 1. Large expenditures have also made his philanthropy a dominant force for climate change, weapons control, and other issues. And so he managed his lucrative business and paid to bring in talent.

The flow of money – which the media measurement company Advertising Analytics LLC calls the Bloomberg effect – has spurred the financial dynamics of the elections. According to Advertising Analytics, television advertising rates in Houston rose 45% after the Bloomberg campaign bought $ 1 million in November. The campaign paid twice the current rate for employees and promised jobs until November, regardless of whether Mr. Bloomberg stays in the race or not. The candidate now has 1,000 campaign employees.

According to media research firm Borrell Associates, much of the reason is expected to spend around $ 20 billion on political advertising in this election cycle. This will outshine the previous record of $ 12 billion in 2016.

"Everything Bloomberg does is unprecedented," said

Rufus Gifford,

former finance director for

Barack Obamas

Presidential campaign. Mr. Bloomberg remains a long shot, Mr. Gifford said, “but if you have

Donald Trump

As president and one of the 10 richest candidates, anything can happen. "

Late show

Michael Bloomberg has outperformed other presidential candidates and focuses on Super Tuesday and later primaries.

Local TV ad spending


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Kevin Sheekey,

Mr. Bloomberg's campaign manager said that Mr. Bloomberg's candidacy was more than his expenses. He pointed to wealthy but politically inexperienced candidates like

Meg Whitman


Ross Perot

who has failed in the past. "Money isn't just about elections," he said. "You must have a record and a message."

Many rich people have applied for office, many candidates have excellent business credentials, and many have claimed to have first-class data operations, which Mr. Bloomberg emphasizes. What sets his campaign apart is his $ 55 billion checkbook.

In front of every Google founder, either Koch's brother or the richest members of the Walton family, Bloomberg is number 9 on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world. A person familiar with the plans said he could spend $ 500 million on the primaries alone, and Mr. Bloomberg has not ruled out that $ 1 billion would have to be spent before November if necessary.

"Sure it will be annoying," he said

Robert Wolf,

former chairman and CEO of UBS Americas and longstanding democratic donor. "We just don't know how."

Mr. Bloomberg's spending, shown earlier this month in Los Angeles, has fueled the financial momentum of the election.


frederic j. brown / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Mr. Bloomberg, who was mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013, is currently supported by 6% of voters, compared to 27% for the former vice president

Joe Biden

the Real Clear Politics average of the polls. According to a mid-December poll by Quinnipiac University, more voters say Mr. Bloomberg is negative rather than positive.

Mr. Bloomberg said he entered the race at a time when the poll showed voters were less concerned with ideology than with finding a candidate who could beat Mr. Trump. His campaign believed that Mr. Trump won the race and remained unchallenged in political ads in competitive countries when democratic candidates focused on the primary struggle.

At the time Massachusetts Sen.

Elizabeth Warren

surged. Surveys showed that Mr. Biden hit Mr. Trump, but within the limits of the error. Ms. Warren's policy, like a property tax, would likely harm Mr. Bloomberg and she is generally not liked by his wealthy New Yorkers, according to a long-time employee. Mr. Bloomberg said that he will support anyone who wins the nomination, whether it's Ms. Warren or Vermont Sen.

Bernie Sanders.

Not on the map

Michael Bloomberg, who took part in the presidential election only two months ago, has already spent around three quarters of the total costs on TV, radio and digital advertising.

Total advertising spend

To counter the criticism that he is running out of interest, Mr. Bloomberg pledged $ 15-20 million to register 500,000 voters before the election. His attacks on Mr. Trump are part of this effort.

"There is a feeling that Bloomberg is doing something the party can't do – Trump reject it," Gifford said. "It's a job the party doesn't have the money for, and other candidates don't have the ability to do it."

After Mr. Trump's campaign bought a 60-second TV spot during the Super Bowl on February 2, the Bloomberg campaign bought a 60-second spot that targets the president. The Bloomberg campaign declined to disclose the spot, but the advertising tracker Kantar / CMAG estimates the value at $ 10 million.

The Bloomberg editions have caught Mr. Trump's attention. When the campaign broadcast an ad saying that the president had broken his promise to protect people with pre-existing health conditions, Mr. Trump pushed back


and labeled Mr. Bloomberg "Mini Mike".

Facebook advertising for Mr. Bloomberg.


Mike Bloomberg 2020

Mr. Bloomberg's election campaign stated that because of his late start, he was focusing on the Super Tuesday poll on March 3rd, and not on the states with early polls like Iowa and New Hampshire. The plan benefits Mr. Bloomberg's financial advantage and minimizes his weaknesses: shaking hands, small talk with the voters, and speeches. Super Tuesday states that 40% of delegates are selected and instead rely more on television and digital advertising.

In addition to the huge TV spending – $ 193 million in advertising since the start of its campaign – the campaign has spent a lot of money online. As of January 11, $ 16.1 million was spent on Google ads and $ 6.8 million on Google ads


As of the end of December according to Kantar / CMAG.

Mr. Trump has spent $ 6.5 million on digital advertising and

Tom Steyer,

The other billionaire, a Democratic candidate, has spent $ 5.6 million since Mr. Bloomberg took part in the race in late November last year.

The Bloomberg campaign offers organizers salaries of $ 6,000 per month. According to job advertisements, the monthly cost for government data protection officers is between $ 10,000 and $ 12,000.

The campaign's 1,000-person payroll is more typical of surgery in the last few months before election day. Mr. Biden has approximately 400 campaign workers, while Mr. Sanders has 800 employees.

The former mayor's late entry into the race has forced the campaign "to create a sense of momentum and hope that people will actually jump up," said one person familiar with Mr. Bloomberg's state operations.

Campaign veterans said that money doesn't necessarily bring in the best people and that many experienced people want to work for people who support them. Other campaigns, including those of Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders, are already operating in the states of Super Tuesday and are increasingly being discontinued in later states.

Mr. Bloomberg has invested in markets that have not yet been attacked by other Democrats. His campaign saved $ 21.2 million on television advertising in Texas, where none of the leading Democrats spent a cent. It spent $ 8.4 million in Pennsylvania, which has its main inventory only on April 28.

It has even poured resources into smaller states that are usually not on primary radar. So far, $ 979,000 has been spent in Idaho. in Utah $ 1.6 million.

"He goes far, far ahead of where the rest of the boys are spinning," said Kip Cassino, executive vice president of Borrell Associates, the media research firm. "He basically says," I'm not going to win in Iowa, and I'm not going to go out and kiss pigs. And I'm not going to win in New Hampshire, but I'm going to win in the rest of the states, and I'm going to get the states that most didn't care before. "

"I'm running for president to defeat Donald Trump and rebuild America," said Bloomberg when he announced his candidacy. Photo: YANA PASKOVA / GETTY IMAGES

In early January, candidates had spent nearly $ 540 million on political ads in the presidential competition in the past twelve months, roughly ten times what would have been expected at this point in the election cycle, Cassino said.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Mr. Cassino, referring to Mr. Bloomberg's expenses. "We're just starting to see how distorting it could be."

One of Mr Bloomberg's potential disadvantages among democratic voters is his support for past Republican candidates, including the former president

George W. Bush.

Other problems that could hurt are his support for charter schools in his efforts to reform the education system and the stop-and-frisk policy he pursued as mayor, which gave the New York police a wide margin to look after passers-by Search contraband. A federal judge finally ruled that politics violated the constitutional rights of minorities. Mr. Bloomberg apologized for the stop-and-frisk policy before starting his campaign.

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Some Democrats fear that Mr. Bloomberg may pull out the primaries with his unlimited budget or try to use his money to influence the leading candidates, hoping to pull some of them into the political center, which he sees as a way to help Mr. Trump to beat.

Mr. Bloomberg's team said the data operation he is building will benefit the Democrats as a whole, whom he said will lag far behind Republicans in collecting and using voter data. His data company Hawkfish LLC was founded in the spring. It has hired the former Facebook marketing chief and the former CEO of Foursquare, the location tracking company.

As Mayor of New York, Mr. Bloomberg announced an operation in 2012 to reduce the sale of illegal firearms.


John Minchillo / Associated Press

Mr. Bloomberg has cited his research and spending on the 2018 midterm elections as evidence of his commitment to the party's success. Democratic candidates won 21 of the 24 races in which he participated. In most races, spending focused on digital advertising at the start of the election cycle and television advertising closer to election day when ad reservations were more expensive and republican groups couldn't easily get their message across.

In a race by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which seemed a long way for the Democrats, Mr. Bloomberg sparked a wave of last minute ads that attacked the Republican candidate. democrat

Kendra Horn

won with a few thousand votes.

"I supported 24 gun and environmental candidates, and 21 of them won, and that turned the house around," he said recently at a Philadelphia campaign stop. "If it weren't, you wouldn't have Pelosi and you wouldn't have been impeached."

Write to Tarini Parti at and Lukas I. Alpert at

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