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If you're tired of seeing Mike Bloomberg's ads all over your Facebook feed, you might just need to log off.
The billionaire’s self-funded 2020 campaign pumped out more than a half-million dollars' worth of ads across 11 new, state-specific Facebook pages between Thursday and Sunday, according to the company’s public ad archive. Pages for Texas and New York shelled out more on Saturday than some competitors’ entire campaigns.
The new posts are an attempt to take Bloomberg’s national media campaign local, drive social engagement in delegate-rich Super Tuesday states, and meet with more voters in the flesh. They come as the campaign plans to throw even more cash into ads after last week’s Iowa caucus ended in chaos for Democrats.
“Since Iowa last week, it is clear that the candidate field, while narrowing, is not producing in the first four states a candidate that can truly take on Donald Trump and defeat him in the fall,” Dan Kanninen, Bloomberg’s states director, said Monday. “The [Trump campaign's] data and digital reach has only gotten stronger.”
The new Facebook effort, totaling more than $558,000 so far, spans several states voting on March 3, including California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Whereas many of Bloomberg’s other ads focus on gun control, climate change, or Trump, these spots largely veer toward directing users to in-person meetings. Kanninen told reporters the campaign held 1,200 broadly defined “events” across the country last weekend.
Bloomberg has already spent stupid amounts of money to blanket the country with TV ads, plaster his moderate message across digital media, and even meme his face into a literal meatball.
That helped the former New York mayor score 15% support — good for third place — among respondents to a Quinnipiac poll of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters released Monday. In national polling averages, he’s also sneaked past former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who claimed victory in Iowa alongside Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders last week.
Bloomberg’s flood-the-zone strategy is also helping Democrats counter Trump’s massive footprint online. While outside liberal groups have poured money into state and local content to counter Trump, Bloomberg and fellow billionaire Tom Steyer are the only 2020 hopefuls to do so at scale. On Facebook Saturday, Bloomberg outspent the president by more than 10-to-1.
That may be getting under the famously media-crazed president’s skin. Trump has referenced Bloomberg’s ads a number of times in recent weeks and painted the media mogul’s campaign as a Hail Mary pass by the establishment to beat Sanders.
“Many of the ads you are watching were paid for by Mini Mike Bloomberg,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “He is going nowhere, just wasting his money, but he is getting the DNC to rig the election against Crazy Bernie, something they wouldn’t do for [Cory Booker] and others. They are doing it to Bernie again, 2016.”
It’s true that Bloomberg rivals may be hard-pressed to match his staffing and spending across the country. The campaign has now hired 2,100 workers in 125 offices nationwide, including many in smaller Super Tuesday states such as Utah and Colorado.
“We, like Colorado, have ballots dropping tomorrow,” said Lauren Littlefield, the Mike for Utah state director, on Monday. “And we are head and shoulders above other campaigns.”
That confidence is backed up with a seemingly endless stream of Bloomberg bucks. Since jumping into the race in mid-November, he has spent more than $344 million on advertising, according to the media tracking firm Advertising Analytics. That includes $282 million on TV and $57 million on Facebook and Google.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign, backed by an army of small-dollar donors, has spent less than $26 million on advertising during that span — total.
Cover image: Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)