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The former New York City mayor and multibillionaire business and media mogul – who was a Biden rival in the race for the Democratic nomination – is using his Independence USA super PAC to spend roughly $15 million to run ads in the two states, a top Bloomberg political adviser confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday. Texas and Ohio were won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election, but public opinion polls indicate it’s a close contest in both states – which combined have 56 electoral votes up for grabs.
This effort is separate from the $100 million Bloomberg has pledged to spend to help the former vice president in the battleground state of Florida. News of the new Bloomberg investment was first reported by the New York Times.
"Mike looked at the polling data and it was clear that Texas and Ohio are in play for Biden. He is investing in expanding the map, beyond the 'blue wall' to places like Florida, Texas and Ohio, where it's close but a win could make a big difference," Kevin Sheekey, a top Bloomberg political adviser, told Fox News.
The news comes two days after Bloomberg announced that he’d shell out an additional $20 million on behalf of down-ballot candidates in the battlegrounds of Arizona, North Carolina and Texas who share his views on combating climate change.
Ohio has long played a crucial role in presidential elections. It was the state that famously put President George W. Bush over the top in 2004, as he won a second term in the White House. Barack Obama narrowly carried the state in 2008 and 2012.
Four years ago, it appeared it would be another close contest, with an average of the polls on the eve of the election indicating Trump narrowly ahead of Clinton. But Trump ended up swamping Clinton by eight points, flipping the state from blue to red and winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes.
Trump’s margin of victory was the largest by any presidential candidate in nearly three decades. Fast forward four years and Ohio – at the beginning of this presidential cycle – wasn’t expected to be a battleground. But the race has tightened and both campaigns are heavily investing in the Buckeye State. An average of the latest polls indicates the race is basically tied in Ohio.
Texas has been ruby red for decades. Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat to win the state in the White House race – 44 years ago. Trump carried the longtime red state by nine points in the 2016 election, but that was down from Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 16-point win over Obama in Texas in 2012.
An average of the most recent polls indicates Trump with a lower single-digit advantage.
Bloomberg, who two years ago returned to the Democratic Party after first winning election as New York City mayor as a Republican before becoming an independent, was the largest outside spender in the 2018 midterm elections. The environmental and gun safety advocate spent an estimated $112 million to help Senate and House Democrats and progressive organizations.
Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion on his own four-month unsuccessful Democratic presidential primary bid.