Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to launch the largest one-week political advertisement campaign ever on Monday across at least 26 states, according to advertising trackers and federal disclosures.
As of 4:15 p.m. 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 ($1.1 million), 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.
Aides to Bloomberg have declined to comment on the planned ad buys.
On Thursday, Bloomberg's teamsaying 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.
The size of the buy is so significant that Bloomberg is poised to spend more cash on the TV campaign than nearly every declared Democratic presidential candidate had at the end of the third fundraising quarter. Only Senator Bernie Sanders had more with $33 million cash on hand. Tom Steyer's third quarter filing showed he'd spent $47 million through the end of Sept.
Other states where Bloomberg has made ad buys include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, 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.
Responding to news of the ad buy, 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."
"If you can't build grassroots support for your candidacy," Sanders added, "you have no business running for president."