Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has reportedly spent about $120 million on digital and television advertising since jumping into race for the Democratic presidential nomination late last month.
In the three weeks since he entered the content, Bloomberg has spent more than $120 million on television and digital advertising, according to Politico. The candidate has focused on Super Tuesday states like California and Texas instead of the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. He has also reportedly poured cash into Florida, which votes one week after Super Tuesday and has 219 delegates up for grabs.
Bloomberg has reportedly outspent all of his competitors, including Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the 15-member Democratic primary field. Steyer, for his part, has spent roughly $83 million on ads since throwing his hat in the ring in July, Politico reports. Unlike Bloomberg, Steyer has focused on targeting the four early-nominating states.
The next higher spender in the 2020 contest is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a non-billionaire. Buttigieg has reportedly spent $19 million.
Several 2020 Democrats have lamented Bloomberg's and Steyer's early access to campaign cash. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for one, took aim at Bloomberg's ad spending with a spot on Bloomberg TV, which the former mayor owns.
"I don't believe that elections ought to be for sale," Warren says in the ad, which aired earlier this month. "And I don't think as a Democratic Party that we should say that the only way you're going to get elected — the only way you're going to be our nominee — is either if you are a billionaire or if you're sucking up to billionaires."
Another presidential hopeful, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., has said: "The rest of us can't afford to run ads like that. You just can't simply allow wealthy people to come in and buy elections. I don't think America looks at the guy in the White House and says, 'Let's find someone richer.'"
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has lamented the lack of diversity in the primary field. After Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., was forced to suspend her campaign due to lack of funding, he said: "There are now more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people."
Bloomberg, for his part, has argued that he is the candidate best positioned to deny Trump a second term in 2020. In explaining his last-minute entry into the race, he said: "I watched, and I said, 'We just can't have another four years of this.' Then I watched all of the candidates, and I just thought to myself, 'Donald Trump would eat them up.'"
The ad spending of Bloomberg and Steyer has appeared to give both candidates a slight bump in support in the race. Bloomberg is polling at about 5 percent nationally, while Steyer is polling at about 1.5 percent, according to polls of the race averaged by RealClearPolitics.