$35 million goes a long way.
That is how much Michael Bloomberg’s splashy entrance into the 2020 presidential contest is costing him, according to data from Advertising Analytics, a firm that tracks ad spending. The former New York City mayor has purchased time in a whopping 98 television markets around the country with millions more being spent on national ads.
The purchase gives some insight into Bloomberg’s emerging campaign strategy and also underlines just how much money he’s willing to spend. Millions of dollars are going to states that don’t vote until the end of the primary process or where Bloomberg isn’t even on the ballot.
Advertising Analytics notes that the spending is the “most money of any candidate ever on a single week of political advertising.” Yahoo Finance analyzed data for 8 days from Monday, Nov. 25 through Monday, Dec. 2. The total spending was $34.8 million over that stretch, working out to an average of about $3,021 every minute.
The money, as expected, is largely flowing to the “Super Tuesday” states that will vote on March 3.
Bloomberg is spending $1.9 million to advertise in Los Angeles, another $1.2 million in Houston and $1.17 million in Dallas. A range of television markets in both Texas and California will feature Bloomberg’s ads and those are the two biggest states that vote on March 3.
Other March 3 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia) are also being blanketed.
Millions more in other states
But there are millions more being spent to speak to voters where the electoral rationale is much less clear.
Bloomberg is spending the most money – over $2.3 million – in the New York market. New York state doesn't vote until April 28. New Jersey voters will also see those ads and they vote even later.
Also of note: the campaign is spending $308,600 to advertise in the West Palm Beach area. That television market includes Mar-a-Lago, where President Trump is expected to spend the Thanksgiving holiday. Bloomberg is spending $1.1 million in the Miami market. Voters in Florida go to the polls on March 17.
And some are just head scratchers: $379,840 is being spent in Portland, Ore. The Beaver State will be one of the last states in the country to vote when they go to the polls on May 19. A few Washington state voters will likely see those ads as well.
Washington, D.C. – which doesn’t vote until June – is the recipient of $567,750 in advertising. The D.C. market does include swaths of Northern Virginia, which will vote on Super Tuesday.
The purchase also includes over $3.9 million for national cable television advertising and another $3 million for national broadcast advertising.
All the money is coming out of Bloomberg’s personal fortune. His campaign has announced that “Mike will not accept donations and will self-fund his campaign, as he did for all three of his successful mayoral runs.”
Skipping early states, except for one
Bloomberg failed to register for the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, 2020, but it won’t stop Granite state voters from likely seeing his ads. He purchased time in the both the Boston and the Portland, Maine, markets. Those TV stations reach large areas of New Hampshire.
A few voters in Nevada may also see ads from Bloomberg from neighboring California and Utah markets. The Advertising Analytics data does not show any purchases in the primary early state markets of Las Vegas or Des Moines.
The data does show that Bloomberg is clearly running in one early state: South Carolina.
The former mayor is spending money in both the Greenville, S.C., and the capitol city of Columbia. The Bloomberg campaign is spending just over a quarter of a million dollars in Greenville with another $62,000 being spent in Columbia.
Bloomberg has also snagged out the endorsement of Columbia’s Mayor, Steve Benjamin. South Carolina is the fourth state to have its primary, on Feb. 29, 2020.
What the ads actually say
The Bloomberg campaign released just one version of its campaign advertising. The extended spot focuses on Bloomberg’s biography and skips over any mention of his primary rivals. The ad flashes images of Donald Trump and of Trump Tower in New York but does not mentioned the president by name.
More detail on the exact composition of the ads Bloomberg is airing were not available.
Bloomberg’s aides have said he could spend $100 million on the race in total. If he does, he would vastly outpace his rivals in the field. In just a single week, he has already outpaced all his rivals for the entire campaign, except for Tom Steyer.
Steyer, a fellow billionaire, has been spending heavily for months since he got into the race this summer and could be passed by Mayor Bloomberg as early as next week.
Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.