Steyer’s Ad Spending Surpasses $100 Million: Campaign Update

Bill Allison

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Tom Steyer has spent more than $106 million on television, cable, radio and digital ads since he launched his presidential campaign in July.

Steyer’s campaign has bought $58.6 million of broadcast television time, $21.9 million on cable and $2.7 million on radio, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks political ad spending. Steyer, who is self-financing his bid, also spent $23.1 million on digital ads.

His media buys have improved his polling and donations, earning him a place on the Democratic debate stage four times, including the forum in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday. Two recent polls in states where Steyer has spent heavily helped him qualify for the that debate.

The former hedge fund manager tallied 12% support in Nevada and 15% in South Carolina, second behind Joe Biden, according to Fox News surveys released Thursday. Steyer’s $13.6 million air campaign in South Carolina markets dwarfs the $3.1 million that the other major candidates have spent there combined. The $13.6 million in air time he’s bought in Nevada is far more than the $1.1 million that his nearest rival, Elizabeth Warren, has purchased.

Even with the big outlays, Steyer has been outspent overall by fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who has bought more than $200 million of advertising.

Buttigieg Is Endorsed by Miss Black America (2:44 p.m.)

Pete Buttigieg’s efforts to woo black voters inched forward again Friday.

One day after landing his first endorsement from a black member of Congress, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor notched the backing of the reigning Miss Black America, Ryann Richardson.

But in a sign of how far Buttigieg has to go, Richardson’s endorsement in The Grio, a news site aimed at African Americans, is somewhat defensive.

Along with praising his Douglass Plan aimed at African Americans, she also defends Buttigieg’s handling of a police shooting in South Bend, his recent suggestion that being a gay man helps him relate to the struggles of black Americans and his low polling among black voters.

“If reports of Pete’s polling in our community are an accurate indicator, it’s fair to say my opinion may be an unpopular one … for now,” she writes. -- Ryan Teague Beckwith

Bloomberg Reaches $200 Million in Ad Spending (1:05 p.m.)

Michael Bloomberg has spent $200 million nationally on political ads since joining the race in November, far outpacing all other Democratic presidential candidates.Bloomberg’s presidential campaign has bought $169 million worth of broadcast television time and $9 million on cable, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks political ad spending. He’s spent $22 million on digital ads.The former New York mayor has spent $100 million more than fellow billionaire Tom Steyer, who is also relying on his personal fortune to fund his campaign. Bernie Sanders, the next biggest spender among Democrats, has purchased $25 million of media. President Donald Trump has spent about $50 million so far through two committees, mostly on digital ads. Bloomberg and Trump each booked 60-second spots in the Super Bowl, costing each campaign $11 million.

Unlike his Democratic rivals, Bloomberg is focused on states holding their nominating contests later in the year. The campaign has made seven-figure purchases of air time in markets in the delegate-rich states of California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Bill Allison

Bloomberg to Keep Operation if Not the Nominee (12:28 p.m.)

Even if Michael Bloomberg loses his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he will continue paying hundreds of field organizers and keep offices open in key battleground states to work to defeat Donald Trump in November.Bloomberg has previously pledged to keep some staff and offices in states critical to the general election, but hasn’t committed to specifics. NBC News reported Friday Bloomberg’s plan includes a digital operation running $100 million in ads targeting Trump.The campaign has not said how much of the activity would involve promoting the eventual nominee. Federal election rules would prohibit the campaign staff from working directly for the nominee, and they would be paid by Bloomberg, according to the campaign.The former New York mayor’s campaign has said it’s assembled an operation with 500 organizers and staff in more than 30 states, plus 300 staffers at its New York City headquarters.Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. -- Mark Niquette

Bloomberg Proposes Federal Voting Standards (11 a.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is holding a private voting-rights meeting in Atlanta with Democrat Stacey Abrams, and released a plan with his own proposals for ensuring all voters have access to the ballot.

Bloomberg on Friday met with Fair Fight 2020, the group Abrams founded after narrowly losing the 2018 Georgia governor’s race, to encourage voter-registration and oppose voter-suppression measures. He gave $5 million to the group in December.

The former New York City mayor proposes the creation of a nonpartisan federal commission to set standards for voting across the U.S. and reinstating federal oversight of elections in certain areas. He also would restore voting rights for felons and prohibit states from removing voters from registration rolls for inactivity -- a practice drawing complaints that eligible voters are being disfranchised. States that require photo identification to vote would be required to accept a sworn affidavit instead. -- Mark Niquette

COMING UP:

Six Democrats -- Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer -- have qualified for the next debate, on Jan. 14 in Iowa.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses will be held Feb. 3.

(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

--With assistance from Mark Niquette, Bill Allison and Ryan Teague Beckwith.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net, Max Berley

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