Michael Bloomberg pumped more than $9 million of his own fortune into Facebook ads for his Democratic presidential campaign last week, more than 10 times the amount that any other 2020 candidate spent in that same period.
The three-time New York City mayor dropped a staggering $9.1 million in ads about social issues, elections or politics from Feb. 8 to Feb. 14, according to Facebook data.
The second-highest spender was hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent just $699,758, a mere fraction of Bloomberg’s. President Trump, who’s reelection campaign has previously dominated online ads, spent $480,442 last week. It's not entirely clear how Facebook determines which ads are about "social issues, elections, or politics."
Bernie Sanders, who’s emerged as a frontrunner after tying with Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses and winning the New Hampshire primary, spent roughly $500,000. Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor, dropped a little over $320,000. Elizabeth Warren bought $130,616 and Joe Biden spent just $117,772, the smallest amount among the top candidates.
One of the richest men in the world, Bloomberg is powering his unorthodox campaign with his massive fortune, already pouring $344 million into blanketing the airwaves with ads, according to ad-tracking firm Advertising Analytics. His unprecedented strategy to skip the four early-voting states and instead concentrate on the slew of delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday means that his campaign is so far untested nationally.
Bloomberg's successful advertising blitz, which spurred his sudden surge to third place in some national polls, has sparked an outcry from fellow Democrats and Trump, who have accused him of trying to buy the election. According to an aggregate of national polls published by RealClearPolitics, Sanders is in first place nationally and Biden is in second.
The 77-year-old billionaire is spending heavily on the 14 states that will cast their ballots on March 3, Super Tuesday. Almost 35 percent of Bloomberg's unprecedented ad-buying campaign has gone toward the four states with the largest number of delegates available: California, New York, Texas and Florida, according to Axios.
Sanders, whose anti-establishment campaign has become a financial juggernaut powered by an army of small-dollar donors, has spent less than $26 million on advertising during that same time span, according to Vice News.
Bloomberg could appear on the debate stage for the first time in Las Vegas this week, after the Democratic National Committee changed its qualifying rules to drop the requirement that a candidate must ascertain a certain number of unique donors, prompting complaints from his 2020 rivals.