Billionaire Candidate Bloomberg Buying Millions In TV Ads Across Texas

Barbara Schwarz
November 27, 2019 - 6:39 am
Michael Bloomberg

Photo by Jeremy Smith/imageSPACE/Sipa USA


DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - There are two ways candidates get air time.  They can make news by campaigning or they can buy commercial time. Newly minted Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is taking the latter route. 

The former New York City mayor won't qualify for the next debate and won't even be on the ballot in the first four primary states.  He is spending $35 million on TV ads, including $3 million in Texas. 

SMU, assistant professor of political communication Stephanie Martin calls it a risky strategy. "It's like trying to jump into the race when everybody else has been running for four miles, and you're going to try to catch them.  He's betting because he has so much money he'll have such a wind at his back that he can make that distance up."

She says $35 million, "is a big, big buy.  It dwarves what other candidates have spent.  The next closest is the other billionaire in the race Tom Steyer and he's spent something like just over a million.  And the other candidates have not spent anything like this."

The history of people trying to spend their own money to win elections does not favor Bloomberg. Steve Forbes tried to do the same as a Republican in 1996 and 2000 and failed.  

Former Hewlett Packard president and CEO Meg Whitman reportedly spent $144 million of her own money to run for Governor of California as a Republican and also failed. 

Martin adds there's a disconnect between primary and general election voters, and Bloomberg's ads target President Trump and don't offer differences between him and the other Democrats in the race.   She says primary voters are interested in details and adds Bloomberg is to the right of Joe Biden.  "The question will be, are Democratic primary voters going to read that as too safe, too moderate, too old, too white."

Bloomberg's 60-second spots are running in Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin,  El Paso and Harlingen-Weslaco.