Bloomberg Tops Half a Billion Dollars in Campaign Advertising

Bill Allison and Mark Niquette

(Bloomberg) -- Michael Bloomberg has broken the $500 million mark in ad spending more than a week before he appears on a primary ballot for the first time.

Through Friday, he’s spent $505.8 million on broadcast, cable, radio and digital ads, according to Advertising Analytics. That’s an average of $5.5 million a day since he officially became a candidate.

It’s also $190 million more than all of his active Democratic rivals combined, including billionaire hedge-fund founder Tom Steyer, have spent on political ads.

The former New York mayor’s primary campaign is the most expensive in presidential history.

(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Bloomberg reached the spending mark weeks after announcing he was doubling his advertising to take advantage of the fractured Democratic field. He is trying to recover from a widely criticised performance in his initial debate on Feb. 19.

Bloomberg is focusing on the states voting March 3 on so-called Super Tuesday, and beyond, when a majority of delegates needed for the party’s nomination are at stake. He had already saturated those states with more than $300 million in ads by the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses.

But his debate performance last week slowed his rise. Critics panned his performance, and even Bloomberg said it “wasn’t my best night.”

“After his performance tonight, I have no doubt he is about to drop tonight another $100 million in this campaign,” Elizabeth Warren said afterward.

The next debate is Tuesday in South Carolina. After Bloomberg’s appearance there he will resume his campaigning in Super Tuesday states, where he’s dominated the airwaves.

He’s spent $63 million in California, twice as much as Steyer and almost 10 times what Bernie Sanders has spent.

Bloomberg’s $52.3 million ad campaign in Texas is 17 times greater than Sanders’s. His campaign’s ad buys in Super Tuesday states total $201 million, 15 times greater than Sanders’s.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bill Allison in Washington DC at ballison14@bloomberg.net;Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wendy Benjaminson at wbenjaminson@bloomberg.net

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