Billionaire Michael Bloomberg might be the latest entrant into the Democratic presidential primary, but that hasn’t stopped him from quickly moving up in the polls. Much of his success appears to be from his massive spending — as of now, Newsweek reports that he has spent approximately $418 million on television ads, which is about $100 million more than his competitors combined and almost 10 times the ad budget of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
After Bloomberg, fellow billionaire Tom Steyer has spent $194 million on TV ads, with Sanders in third with $42 million. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is in fourth with $32 million and Sen. Elizabeth Warren placed fifth with $21 million.
Bloomberg’s massive spending has been a point of controversy, with many suggesting he is buying his way into the primary.
“Democracy to me means one person, one vote, not Bloomberg or anybody else spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to buy an election,” Sanders tweeted Sunday evening.
During a recent interview with The Intercept, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader said that the Democratic Party would not let someone like Sanders win. He pointed to Joe Biden as the party’s top choice and claimed that Bloomberg is the second option in the case of the former vice president’s failure.
LISTEN: "Now Mr. Bloomberg, like anybody else, has a right to run for president. He does not have a right to buy the presidency." Loud cheers as @BernieSanders takes aim at @MikeBloomberg at a #rally in #Richmond. Bloomberg's spending a lot of money on campaign ads here in CA ???????? pic.twitter.com/7HwoMf8UDr— Anna Trinidad (@ATrinKTVU) February 17, 2020
As of now, Bloomberg is in third place nationwide with 14 percent support. In first is Sanders with 23.6 percent, followed by Biden with 19.2 percent. Despite his rise in the polls, Bloomberg failed to gain any delegates in New Hampshire or Iowa, although his plan from the beginning has been to skip the early states and focus all of his efforts on Super Tuesday.
The rise of Bloomberg appears to be getting his rivals on edge, the Associated Press reported.
“He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders said during a campaign rally at Carson City, Nevada. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg — the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections!”
Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar took aim at Bloomberg for his television spending and lack of broadcast interviews.
“I think he cannot hide behind the airwaves and the money. I think he has to come on the shows. And I personally think he should be on the debate stage.”
Although Klobuchar has only spent $11 million on television ads, she claims she can take down Bloomberg on the debate stage.
“I’m never going to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage,” she said.