Bloomberg $100M ad blitz at Trump to run even if he isn’t

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD - By Michael Scherer and John Wag­ner

WASH­ING­TON — For­mer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who is tak­ing steps to run for pres­i­dent, has launched a $100 mil­lion dig­i­tal ad cam­paign at­tack­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in the bat­tle­ground states ex­pected to de­ter­mine next year’s elec­tion.

The ef­fort will pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant boost to Demo­cratic ef­forts — now to­tal­ing at least $325 mil­lion in public com­mit­ments — to keep the heat on Trump while Demo­cratic can­di­dates bat­tle each other to win the party’s pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

“Our think­ing is that the gen­eral elec­tion has al­ready be­gun,” said Ja­son Schechter, a Bloomberg spokesman.

The out­lay, which far ex­ceeds what any Demo­cratic can­di­date has raised or spent so far in the race, joins sev­eral other out­side groups who have de­voted money to early swing state cam­paigns.

Pri­or­i­ties USA, an in­de­pen­dent Demo­cratic non­profit and su­per PAC ef­fort, has al­ready spent about $7 mil­lion of a $100 mil­lion cam­paign for swing state anti-Trump advertisin­g dur­ing the pri­maries. Amer­i­can Bridge, a group that typ­i­cally fo­cuses on op­po­si­tion re­search, launched a $3 mil­lion cam­paign last week fo­cused on ru­ral white vot­ers as part of an ef­fort ex­pected to reach $50 mil­lion.

A third group, ACRO­NYM, which is be­ing ad­vised by for­mer Obama cam­paign man­ager David Plouffe, has an­nounced plans for $75 mil­lion in dig­i­tal ads against Trump.

The money is in­tended to chal­lenge the sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tages of in­cum­bency in pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns.

Trump’s cam­paign an­nounced $156 mil­lion in cash on hand at the end of Septem­ber, af­ter rais­ing $125 mil­lion in the pre­vi­ous three months.

By con­trast, the top fundrais­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has raised less than $75 mil­lion through the first three quar­ters of the year. For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, who has led na­tional nom­i­na­tion polls this year, has raised less than $38 mil­lion in the same nine months.

Trump has also dom­i­nated Demo­cratic can­di­dates so far on dig­i­tal spend­ing. On Face­book, the Trump cam­paign and its af­fil­i­ates have pur­chased $14.7 mil­lion in ads this year, ac­cord­ing to the so­cial net­work, com­pared to $5.45 mil­lion by South Bend, In­di­ana, Mayor Pete But­tigieg and $4.3 mil­lion by Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren, D-Mass.

Much of the early dig­i­tal spend­ing by can­di­dates is fo­cused on prospect­ing for more cam­paign donors, not on per­suad­ing swing state vot­ers. An anal­y­sis by Pri­or­i­ties USA of re­cent Trump Face­book ads found that 89% of the mes­sages were fo­cused on ac­quir­ing new donors and voter in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing spots that ask peo­ple to wish Trump a happy birth­day or pur­chase cam­paign mer­chan­dise.

“Some­times you spell ‘des­per­a­tion’ d-e-m-o-c-ra-t-s,” Tim Mur­taugh, a spokesman for the Trump cam­paign, said in re­sponse to the news of the new Bloomberg dig­i­tal ef­fort, which was first re­ported by The New York Times.

A pro-Trump in­de­pen­dent ef­fort, Amer­i­can First, has an­nounced a fundrais­ing goal of $300 mil­lion for the 2020 cy­cle to de­fend Trump in bat­tle­ground states. That spend­ing is ex­pected to fo­cus on Florida, Ge­or­gia, North Carolina, Penn­syl­va­nia, Ohio and Michi­gan.

In one Bloomberg ad provided to The Wash­ing­ton Post, Trump’s Twit­ter feed is high­lighted along with the mes­sage: “A tweet shouldn’t threaten our coun­try’s se­cu­rity.”

The dig­i­tal cam­paign is sched­uled to be­gin Fri­day, with plans for spend­ing in Michi­gan, Wis­con­sin, Penn­syl­va­nia and Ari­zona, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg aides. They said Bloomberg will not ap­pear in the ads, which will none­the­less make clear he paid for them.

“If Mike runs, it is be­cause he be­lieves that Don­ald Trump is an ex­is­ten­tial threat, and this demon­strates his com­mit­ment to de­feat­ing him,” said Howard Wolf­son, a se­nior ad­viser to Bloomberg.

JOHN LOCHER/AP

For­mer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg boosted Democrats’ ef­forts to at­tack Trump in early swing states.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.