Bloomberg makes record $31 million ad buy: campaign update

Bill Allison

Former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has purchased $31 million worth of television advertising time in a single week, the most any presidential candidate has spent in a seven-day period.

The ads are scheduled to begin airing nationally and in 98 local markets on Monday, according to data from Advertising Analytics, which tracks political commercials. There is no indication of the content of the ads.

In this Feb. 8, 2019 file photo, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg answers a question during an interview with The Associated Press in Orlando, Fla.

Former President Barack Obama spent $24.9 million in the final week of his 2012 campaign, Advertising Analytics said in a tweet, the previous high.

Bloomberg is spending more than $1 million each in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York City markets. He’s also spending $6.3 million on ads that will run nationally and spending smaller amounts in other markets, including $308,000 in West Palm Beach, where President Donald Trump has his Mar-a-Lago estate, and $83,650 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which is Joe Biden’s hometown.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders assailed the ad purchases. “I’m disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections,” Sanders said in a statement.

Bloomberg campaign spokesman Jason Schechter declined to comment on the ad buys.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Biden Says He’s ’Embarrassed’ For Lindsey Graham (3:54 P.M.)

Joe Biden says Lindsey Graham, his longtime friend and Senate colleague, will regret pursuing an investigation of the former vice president’s work in Ukraine, as President Donald Trump is demanding.

“Lindsey is about to go down in a way I think he’s going to regret his whole life,” Biden told CNN in an interview airing Friday. Biden said he would tell the South Carolina senator: “I’m just embarrassed by what you’re doing for you. I mean, my Lord.”

Biden, who leads in national polls of Democrats, was also asked about former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s expected late entry into the 2020 race. Bloomberg is the owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

“I welcome the competition,” he said. “Watch me. Watch me. The idea that I’m not in better shape than Mayor Bloomberg physically and otherwise?”

Biden added, however, that he understands why Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick would be interested in getting into the race. “Trump is so bad as a president and so corrupt as a president that everybody in America who’s ever been involved in politics especially if they had a billion dollars thinks they can beat Trump. Maybe they could,” he said.

A spokesman for Bloomberg declined to comment on Biden’s remark.

Biden Backed by Black Leader in Buttigieg’s City (2:55 P.M.)

As Pete Buttigieg tries to attract the support of black voters, Joe Biden’s campaign touted the endorsement Friday of a black community leader in Buttigieg’s Indiana hometown.Oliver Davis Jr., the vice president of the South Bend Common Council, said he was backing the 77-year-old former vice president because of his experience. A well-established black leader in the city, he and the 37-year-old Buttigieg – mayor of South Bend for nearly eight years – have never been allies.

“In times like these, when the political winds are fiercely blowing across our country, it’s important for us to have an experienced leader who has been through the diverse storms of life to guide our country,” Davis said.

Biden has led the Democratic presidential field in support from black voters, while Buttigieg has lagged at or near the bottom. In South Carolina, where African Americans play a decisive role in the Democratic primary, a poll released by Quinnipiac University earlier this week showed Biden with the support of 44% of black voters, and Buttigieg with less than 1%.

Davis’ endorsement reflects some intra-city tensions. Davis ran in the Democratic primary this year to replace Buttigieg as mayor but got only 6% of the vote. Buttigieg’s endorsee, James Mueller, is now South Bend’s mayor-elect.

Warren Names Three Congresswomen as Co-Chairs (1:46 p.m.)

Elizabeth Warren named three first-term congresswomen as co-chairs of her presidential campaign.

The three U.S. representatives – Deb Haaland of New Mexico, Katie Porter of California and Ayanna Pressley from Warren’s home state of Massachusetts – were elected in 2018, part of a record number of women who won seats during the midterms.

“It’s an incredible honor to have these three persistent women on our team,” Warren said Friday in a statement.

Pressley endorsed Warren earlier this month. She is part of a group of progressive congresswomen known as the Squad that was disparaged by President Donald Trump in July. The other Squad members – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib have endorsed Bernie Sanders.

Porter won a historically Republican district in 2018 and has gained attention for her forceful questioning of corporate executives in congressional hearings. Haaland is of Native American heritage. She could help Warren with that community after the candidate was forced to apologize for taking a DNA test to prove Cherokee ancestry.