Bloomberg spent almost US$1 bil in short-lived campaign

Bloomberg’s donations to his own campaign exceed the amount Barack Obama raised from donors in 2008. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: Michael Bloomberg put a record US$935 million into his short-lived Democratic presidential campaign through February, including US$474 million last month alone, according to his monthly Federal Election Commission filing on Friday.

The former New York City mayor’s spending in February was a record monthly total for a presidential campaign and brought his total campaign spending to US$875 million dollars.

He ended the month with US$60.6 million in the bank plus debts of US$31.7 million, the report shows.

Bloomberg joined the Democratic race Nov 24, saying he was convinced that President Donald Trump would defeat any of the candidates in the field.

But after spending almost US$580 million on advertising and building a field operation with 2,400 staff in 43 states, a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday left him without a viable path to the nomination.

He ended his campaign March 4 and endorsed Joe Biden. His March activity will be reported next month.

Friday’s report shows the campaign continued to spend big on advertising through February. It paid US$246 million to Assembly, which bought ads for it, US$33.1 million to Facebook Inc, and US$28.6 million to Mission Control, Inc, a direct-mail firm.

Bloomberg’s donations to his own campaign exceed the record US$748 million Barack Obama raised from donors in the 2008 election cycle.

The previous record in a monthly filing was the US$153 million that Obama raised in September 2008, when contributions were limited to US$2,300.

Bloomberg announced on Friday that he was transferring US$18 million from his campaign to the Democratic National Committee and turning over several of his field offices to state parties in an effort to help Democrats defeat Trump and win other races in November.

Previously, Bloomberg had said that even if he wasn’t the nominee, he was willing to spend a lot of money – but “hopefully not” as much as US$1 billion – to keep staff and offices in six battleground states.

His campaign had explored doing that by forming an outside group that would not be able to coordinate with a candidate or the national party.

But the campaign said that because of the need to coordinate efforts and the dynamics of the race changing with Biden in control, he’s giving money to the DNC’s coordinated campaign and transferring leases to state parties.

A list of “hundreds” of staff members will be given to the DNC with the expectation and hope they would be hired, a campaign aide said.

Bloomberg has also donated to groups registering voters and working on competitive races since dropping out of the race. He will continue spending money to help Democrats and to defeat Trump, though the details are still being discussed, the aide said.