Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to launch the largest one-week political advertisement campaign ever on Monday in at least 24 states, according to political advertising trackers and federal disclosures. CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster and political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice say as of 4:15pm ET on Friday, Advertising Analytics, a firm that analyzes political advertising, tracked at least $31 million in broadcast TV ad buys from Bloomberg.
According to Medium Buying, another political advertising tracker, the top markets were New York City ($1.6 million), Los Angeles ($1.1million), Houston ($956,000), Dallas ($843,000), Tampa ($723,000) and San Francisco ($639,000). California and Texas, where Bloomberg is set to spend a combined $3.6 million in four cities alone, will be holding primaries on Super Tuesday, March 3.
The buy is scheduled to start on Monday and continues into the second week of December in many markets. Other states where Bloomberg has made ad buys include Alabama, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. While other 2020 candidates have been flocking to the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, he is not expected to compete in those contests.
At least one of the advertisements is set to mention President Trump and issues such as gun control, jobs, climate change, taxes, health insurance, coal and affordable housing, according to a Federal Communications Commission filing with WXCW-TV in Fort Myers, Florida. Aides to Bloomberg have declined to comment on the planned ad buys.
On Thursday, Bloomberg's team filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission saying he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination, but he has not yet officially announced a bid. He has filed to be on the ballot in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas.
Responding to news of the ad buy, Senator Bernie Sanders said in a statement he is "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. It's just the latest example of a rigged political system that we are going to change when we're in the White House."
Sanders added, "If you can't build grassroots support for your candidacy, you have no business running for president."
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Former Vice President Joe Biden officially filed for the South Carolina Democratic primary alongside the state's Democratic Party chair during a stop at a local soul food restaurant in Abbeville Friday afternoon. While rounding out his eighth visit to the state since launching his bid, Biden was asked whether he felt confident about his lead in South Carolina, particularly among black voters. "I've always had overwhelming support in my whole career from the African-American community," responded Biden. "Actually, I do feel pretty confident."
According to the CBS News Battleground Tracker, Biden has remained the frontrunner in the state by at least 22 points since the summer. CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell spoke with Abbeville resident Delores Marshall, who said she was still in shock from Biden's visit to "Food for the Soul" restaurant. "He took the time out to come to such a small town, it's just awesome to see that it's just not about the big, higher people," said Marshall. "He takes in consideration of small towns too, what our needs and our thoughts [are] about what's going on."
At her first post-debate rally today, Senator Amy Klobuchar took a swipe at democratic rival Tom Steyer in Henniker, NH. "I just tried to take a deep breath because he's got a lot of money that I wish I had to pay for my TV ads," Klobuchar remarked to attendees, adding that she appreciates the work her fellow contender has done to combat climate change.
"The issue is you want to have the best candidate if I win and can be Donald Trump. And so when I look at this, I don't think people look and say, 'OK Donald Trump is a multimillionaire I want to have someone richer that can beat him.' I actually think whoever the candidate is that we're going to be able to get the funding to more than match Donald Trump."
Weighing in on the impeachment proceedings, Klobuchar told reporters that "I just can't predict what the whole procedure will be. I know one thing. And that is that it's my constitutional duty. I'll be there." The senator added, "We'll find a way to campaign around the country. My husband's a great campaigner. My daughter is as well."
During the town hall at New England College, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga said Klobuchar commended witnesses appearing before the House Intelligence Committee this week in public proceedings. "Fiona Hill yesterday, oh my God," Klobuchar exclaimed, later adding, "I think it is really important to remember there's a lot of good people that are standing up for America including the ones that testified this week that believe in what my friend John McCain always used to say. 'There's nothing more liberating than a cause greater than yourself.'"
On the heels of wrapping his first trip to South Carolina since launching his long-shot bid for the presidency, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is set to make a second trip in New Hampshire next week. Ahead of his visit, CBS News campaign reporters LaCrai Mitchell and Nicole Sganga spoke with voters and state leaders to discuss Patrick's prospects in the first two early primary states, where he's expected to make a play for moderate voters.
After foreshadowing the move last weekend in California, Amy Klobuchar is out with her first hires in Nevada: State Director Marina Negroponte and Political Director Cameron Miller, who are reprising roles they once held for Beto O'Rourke's aborted presidential bid.
"Marina and C.H. bring extensive experience to the team and will help us share Amy's unifying message and optimistic agenda with caucus-goers across Nevada," campaign manager Justin Buoen said in a statement Friday.
But CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin notes with less than 100 days until Nevada's caucuses, Negroponte and Miller face steep challenges in a state where the Minnesota Democrat has rarely visited outside of cattle calls, typically polls around 2 percent, and has yet to amass any infrastructure. By contrast, Senator Cory Booker (who also garnered 2 percent in a recent CBS News Battleground Tracker) is touting 20 new precinct captains Friday to navigate the state's caucuses. And Andrew Yang's campaign, which plans to build a field office upstate in Reno, has hired more communications staff and named its own new political director.
Through conversations with more than a dozen political leaders and voters, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell examined what Biden's steady lead in South Carolina means for 2020. During Biden's latest swing, Mitchell spoke with Lander University freshmen who will be voting for the first time and said they definitely plan to vote for Biden because of his experience as vice president.
They also noted what it meant for him to show up. "I've never experienced anything like [this town hall] before and me being able to experience firsthand with him...makes me want to get more involved," said 18-year-old nursing student Janiya Williams about voting for the first time in 2020. "I'm excited because of the simple fact the person that I'm voting for, I feel confident in his fulfillments for us."
Dee Dee Bell and her husband John — who met Biden in 2007 — also attended the university town hall, which they say reaffirmed their decision about him. "We need someone like him who's stable, who knows government, who is fair-minded, who doesn't call people names, who is kind to people," said Mrs. Bell. "We're so for him, anything we can do we'll back him."
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Here is a roundup of the Political Unit's reporting for CBSN and CBSNews.com this week:
· Saturday CBSN Segment: Election Day in Louisiana // By Sarah Ewall-Wice
· John Bel Edwards wins Louisiana governor's election // By Sarah Ewall-Wice & Aaron Navarro
· Kamala Harris says Pete Buttigieg sounded "a bit naïve" at Democratic debate // By Tim Perry & Jack Turman
· Senators running for president brace for possible impeachment trial // By Sarah Ewall-Wice