Mike Bloomberg takes big losses after spending over $100 million in Florida, Ohio and Texas
- The sheer amount of losses for Bloomberg in 2020 is a major blow, considering he's known as one of the leading kingmakers in the Democratic Party.
- Beyond the presidential election, the outcome of Bloomberg's decisions in 2020 could have an impact on his involvement in the upcoming New York mayoral race.
Billionaire and former presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg's more than $100 million investment into three key states fell flat as President Donald Trump appears to have captured all of them.
In the months after Bloomberg dropping out of the Democratic primary, the New York business leader huddled with advisors to plot a spending blitz to help Democratic nominee Joe Biden overtake Trump. It was initially decided that most of a $100 million spend would go toward the pivotal state of Florida. Later he would add Ohio and Texas into the mix.
NBC News is projecting that Trump will defeat Biden in those states. Bloomberg's team believed that if they spent big in Florida, it would force Trump and his allies to shift resources away from other regions of the country and into the key battleground state.
"Our goal was to make Trump fight for a state he was taking for granted and draw resources from blue-wall states, allowing Joe Biden to become more competitive in those states," Kevin Sheekey, an advisor to Bloomberg, explained. "To make Trump fight like hell in Florida."
Still, the sheer amount of losses for Bloomberg in 2020 is a major blow, considering he's known as one of the leading kingmakers in the Democratic Party. He has a net worth of more than $54 billion and spent $1 billion on his primary run for president that ended up winning only a few dozen delegates, including some from the American Samoa caucus
The respect that Bloomberg had within the party was evident in the buildup to Election Day as he plowed millions into the Sunshine State.
Democratic leaders were privately becoming more convinced that they were going to defeat Trump there, in part on the basis that Bloomberg was flooding the airwaves with ads, according to people familiar with the matter who declined to be named. They believed that Bloomberg's messaging machine was enough to push Biden over the edge and flip Florida back to the Democrats after losing there in 2016.
There were even discussions that some Democratic leaders were going to try to convince Biden to offer Bloomberg a Cabinet post, these people added. Those efforts appear to be no longer in motion and it's unclear if either Biden or Bloomberg would even entertain the idea. These people declined to be named as the discussions and plans were made in private.
Beyond the presidential election, the outcome of Bloomberg's decisions in 2020 could have an impact on his involvement in the upcoming New York mayoral race.
At the end of the presidential election Bloomberg was looking to move ahead in planning how to potentially spend big on that race, these people noted. Mayor Bill de Blasio's term ends on the first day of 2022. The presidential race is still ongoing and it's unclear what Bloomberg, a former New York mayor himself, is now planning to do in the contest of a city he once ran.
Bloomberg was notably not deeply involved in critical U.S. Senate races. Democrats appear to be on track to fall short of becoming the majority in the chamber.
The breakdown of the spending by Bloomberg during the later stages of the presidential election goes further than just investing into ad buys.
Data from Advertising Analytics shows that Bloomberg's super PAC, Independence USA, spent just more than $36 million in Florida between the months of September and November. The PAC also spent $6.9 million on ads airing in Texas and $3.3 million in Ohio.
That data does not include the ads that Bloomberg funded through pro-Biden super PACs, such as Priorities USA Action.
Bloomberg's resources also went toward a slew of companies, with some having direct ties to him.
Hawkfish, the data firm Bloomberg founded, was paid more than $3.2 million during the 2020 election cycle, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The firm was also used during Bloomberg's presidential campaign.
The data company teamed up with a pro-Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, to keep track of voting in Florida. The two organizations would regularly brief reporters on the state of play in the Sunshine State and discuss a theory of a possible "red mirage."
Another group who saw a payday from Bloomberg's PAC is Schoen Cooperman Research, a firm founded by the former New York mayor's longtime pollster Doug Schoen.
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