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Billionaire Bloomberg floods LA with presidential advertising


TV viewers in Southern California can hardly miss the Michael R. Bloomberg advertisements this holiday season.

On Sunday, the former New York City Mayor ran two commercials on CBS during the NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers, then another for “60 Minutes.” A Bloomberg spot also aired prime-time during “The Sound of Music” on ABC.

Soap fans saw the Democrats’ ads during General Hospital and Days of Our Lives last week; Game show fans during “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune”. On Friday alone, the stations in LA showed Bloomberg advertisements about 80 times.

The billionaire’s publicity for the March 3 election in California is unprecedented for a Democratic presidential primary, campaign veterans say. In the three weeks since he announced his candidacy, he has spent more than $ 5.4 million on television advertising in the Los Angeles media market alone.

He has invested millions more millions in television commercials in the San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and Fresno markets, along with digital and cable advertising. None of Bloomberg’s rival Democrats have what it takes to keep up with their flood of ads in California, America’s most expensive state for television advertising, and they appear to be holding it for a full three months.

Bloomberg has already lost $ 117 million in advertising nationwide, including $ 13.6 million in California, beating all of its Democratic opponents combined, according to Advertising Analytics, a company that tracks political ad purchases. Despite tradition, he skips the four states that open the party’s 2020 nomination battle with competitions in February.

As opponents invest tremendous time and resources in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina hoping to gain momentum soon, Bloomberg is jumping into the larger states, which begin voting in March.

Tapping into his personal fortune – Forbes puts his net worth at 55.7 billion US dollars, which makes him one of the richest people in the world – Bloomberg saturates the television station not only in California but also in the other 13 states with competitions on Super Tuesday with ads. and more than a dozen others to vote later in March.

Even if the four early states emerge as a clear front runner, Bloomberg will almost certainly outperform that candidate in cities where TV advertising is expensive – Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Cleveland, Atlanta, Seattle, Boston, St. Louis and Detroit, among many others. And nobody will have their head start.

“Of course, it helps to get a message across,” said Dan Kanninen, who oversees the state campaigns Bloomberg has started building coast to coast. “This is something unique. People have not tried to run a national campaign that way. “

About 2% of the democratic delegates are assigned in the first four states; 65% will be allotted in the competitions that take place in March, Kanninen said.

Much of Bloomberg’s advertising runs during news and talk shows. In Los Angeles, he paid $ 2,000 every time his 30-second commercials aired on NBC’s “Today” show.

Primetime is significantly more expensive. The spots that were shown on Friday during “Hawaii Five-0” and “Magnum PI” on CBS cost $ 12,000 each to run in LA alone. The 30 seconds during “60 Minutes” was $ 30,000. The Vikings-Chargers game cost $ 45,000 each time.

Bloomberg’s ads highlight its struggles against guns, tobacco, and coal. They describe him as a stable leader strong enough to beat President Trump.

National surveys suggest that the ads are having some impact. Bloomberg sees roughly 5% support among Democratic primary voters, according to Real Clear Politics, a non-partisan website that aggregates poll results. He lies behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Pete Buttigieg, the outgoing Mayor of South Bend, Ind., But he lies ahead of the rest of the rude campaign candidates a year.

Several Democratic opponents say Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the race, are trying to buy the presidency.

“I don’t think America looks at the guy in the White House and says, ‘Let’s find someone richer,'” Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar recently told ABC’s The View.

Bloomberg, who has faced similar allegations in his election campaigns, says his wealth protects him from the corrupt influence of financiers.

“I do exactly what they do, except I use my own money,” he told CBS This Morning. “They use other people’s money, and these other people expect something from them. Nobody gives you money if they don’t expect something and I don’t want to be bought. “

Bloomberg spent more than $ 260 million in total on its 2001, 2005, and 2009 mayoral elections, and won all three elections.

“It’s his classic game book, and it’s been successful before, especially in the first race when no one thought he had a big chance,” said Bill Carrick, a Los Angeles Democratic adviser. “I think presidential campaigns are really a lot more complicated.”

Aside from the challenges of targeting different groups of voters and mastering the Byzantine sequence of primaries and assemblies that delegates assign, candidates inevitably struggle to shape the way they are covered in the media. In a presidential race, news can reduce the effectiveness of advertising.

TV advertising is also less important than it used to be as more Americans use social media and websites as their primary source of information about candidates.

Still, for now, it remains the most effective way to communicate with the public, especially the elderly, who tend to be the most reliable voters.

Following the South Carolina primary on February 29, the Democratic nomination race will immediately expand into a national race, with Super Tuesday three days later. Competitions on March 3 include California, Texas, Virginia, and Colorado. The area codes later this month include Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia.

The biggest prize is California; 416 of the 495 delegates will be up for grabs on March 3rd. A party formula will distribute them among candidates who receive at least 15% of the vote nationwide and in each of the state’s 53 congressional districts.

California’s enormous size can make it unaffordable for candidates to advertise in its major media markets. Aside from Bloomberg, Steyer is the only other Democrat to date – albeit on a much smaller scale – in the state who made his fortune with a hedge fund in San Francisco.

San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer poured tens of millions of dollars into his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, but Michael Bloomberg is spending it.

(Steve Helber / AP)

Nationwide, Bloomberg has already spent more than double that of Steyer, according to Advertising Analytics. Forbes puts Steyer’s net worth at $ 1.6 billion.

Bloomberg’s late start in the presidential race left him no choice but to bypass the states and advertise heavily, assuming the Democrats don’t have a clear favorite by Super Tuesday, said Rob Stutzman, a California Republican adviser.

“The only way for him is to have credibility, and sympathy [name] Identification, ”said Stutzman, who was a top campaign advisor to former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and billionaire Meg Whitman, the GOP’s failed candidate for governor in 2010.

Whitman, backed by a former Republican Bloomberg, is part of a large stable of wealthy candidates whose generous personal expenses were insufficient to win national office in California. She spent $ 178.5 million on her campaign, including $ 144 million of her own money, just to end 1.3 million votes behind Jerry Brown.


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