Michael Bloomberg poured $188 million of his vast personal fortune into his Democratic presidential campaign in the final two months of 2019, according to Federal Election Commission filings released on Friday.
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The spending report, which covers the period when Bloomberg announced his candidacy through Dec. 31, 2019, far surpasses the amounts spent and raised by other contenders for the Democratic nomination.
Campaign officials said they spent a staggering $132.2 million on TV advertising and $8.19 million on digital ads. The money also went toward building up Bloomberg's operation, which had 150 employees at the end of the filing period. The payroll has since grown to 1,000 across 35 states.
Since launching his nascent campaign in November, Bloomberg has spent more than $300 million on TV, radio and digital advertising, according to ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. During a recent interview with The New York Times, Bloomberg did not rule out the possibility of spending up to $1 billion on his bid to unseat President Trump in November. Both Bloomberg and Trump are spending an estimated $10 million apiece on dueling, 60-second Super Bowl ads.
“Our first month’s filing represents a down payment and commitment in all 50 states to defeat Donald Trump," said campaign manager Kevin Sheekey. "And it shows we have the resources and plan necessary to take him on.”
Bloomberg is using his fortune — he’s worth an estimated $61.5 billion, according to Forbes, making him one of the richest people in the world — to power his unconventional campaign and does not intend to accept donations, even though doing so automatically excludes him from participating in the Democratic debates.
He is not participating in the Iowa caucuses on Monday and won't be on the ballots of other early-voting states, including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.
Unlike his 2020 Democratic rivals, Bloomberg has not released his tax returns yet, though his campaign said he intends to do so.
Two weeks ago, the former New York City mayor received a 45-day extension for filing a personal financial disclosure report with the Federal Election Committee, meaning that voters in the 14 states that cast their ballots on Super Tuesday (March 3) will not have access to details about his assets and income.
In postponing the personal financial disclosure, Bloomberg’s campaign cited the “complexity of his holdings and the need to obtain certain information from third parties."