The 77-year-old former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is running for president, on a centrist-friendly platform that’s mainly premised on beating incumbent Donald Trump. What makes Bloomberg’s campaign stand out, however, isn’t his positions: it’s how much he’s spending to get his message out. Google “impeachment,” for example, and you’ll probably get an ad at the top of the page that promotes Bloomberg’s campaign. Same goes for “climate change” and “gun safety.” It’s all over the place, but it does guarantee the eyeballs of people who are searching for answers related to ongoing political conversations brought up in the race.
And those ads aren’t cheap. The Bloomberg ad for impeachment reads “Trump’s Broken Promises | Enough Is Enough | We Deserve Better,” and it’s very prominent. Prominence costs money. While Google’s political ad transparency report doesn’t say exactly how much the ad costs, a similar ad ran for nine days, earned between 1 and 10 million impressions, and cost more than $100,000. And impeachment isn’t the only term Bloomberg is targeting.
According to Google, Bloomberg’s campaign has spent a staggering $14,849,500 on political ads since the candidate announced his run at the end of November; overall, Bloomberg has spent nearly $200 million on his run for president of the United States. (At the time of this writing, The New York Times’ state of the race has Bloomberg polling at an average of 5 percent nationally, which puts him behind Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.) What’s more: while Bloomberg’s competition is soliciting donors — and in the case of Warren and Sanders, a majority of grassroots donors — the former mayor has pledged to spend up to $1 billion of his own money funding his run. His estimated net worth is upward of $50 billion.
Since Bloomberg’s announcement, a spate of stories have come out showing just how the candidate is spending his cash: on Google search terms related to climate change; $38.1 million on TV ads for this month alone, VICE News reports; and over on Facebook, the other major political advertising marketplace, Bloomberg was spending more than $170,000 every day during the first week of December, The Washington Post reported at the time.
The amount of cash Bloomberg is pouring into the race is staggering, especially compared to the other candidates who are still in the contest. Buttigieg’s campaign, which is polling at 9 percent, has spent $4.6 million on Google ads since last April; Warren’s, which is at 16 percent, has spent $3.7 million since last January; and Sanders, who is polling at 19 percent, has dropped $3.2 million since last February. Trump has spent only a little less than Buttigieg — $4.5 million since June 2018 — but his political action committee, on the other hand, has spent $9,796,400 in the same period of time.
Campaigning for president in America is expensive — but Bloomberg’s spending is unprecedented.