Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped more than $900 million on his presidential campaign, an eye-popping figure for a White House bid that lasted a little more than three months.
New filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) showed that Bloomberg, a billionaire who personally bankrolled his bid, spent $875,369,840.07 through the end of February. The campaign accrued debts of an additional $31,661,136.33.
Bloomberg’s campaign, which was launched in November to try to settle nerves of moderates who feared a surging progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), relied on an intense advertising blitz to close the gap on candidates who had been campaigning for months.
The filings show that the Bloomberg campaign spent more than $500 million on television advertising alone, as well as more than $100 million on digital ads. It also dropped more than $15 million on polling.
The unprecedented spending fueled a Bloomberg surge in the polls after his entry to the primary field and helped cast him as a serious contender and potential rival to former Vice President Joe Biden, another centrist.
Bloomberg, in an apparent recognition of his late entry into the race, skipped the first four nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina and appeared set to head into Super Tuesday with the wind at his back.
However, a devastating debate performance in which he was savaged over his past support of stop and frisk and comments about women, and a 30-point rout by Biden in South Carolina derailed his once-promising bid.
He won a disappointing total of a few dozen delegates on Super Tuesday out of the 1,357 up for grabs, and took zero states, only winning American Samoa’s caucuses. He dropped out the next day.
However, Bloomberg endorsed Biden after his withdrawal and has vowed to support the Democratic Party as it tries to flip the White House and several Senate seats. The former mayor announced Friday that he will transfer $18 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and plans to consolidate his massive campaign organization behind the national party.
The windfall for the DNC is $6 million more than it raised in all of February, and almost twice the national party’s January haul.