Maya King at Politico:
Together, Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg have poured nearly $200 million into television and digital advertising alone, with the former New York mayor spending an unprecedented $120 million in the roughly three weeks since he joined the presidential race. That’s more than double the combined ad spending of every single nonbillionaire in the Democratic field this year.
“We’ve never seen spending like this in a presidential race,” said Jim McLaughlin, a Republican political strategist who worked as a consultant for Bloomberg’s mayoral bids in New York. “He has a limitless budget.”
The question isn’t whether anyone else will come close to matching Bloomberg's or Steyer’s ad spending. Rather, it’s whether all that spending is making any difference.
At present, the two remain mired in single digits in the polls. Steyer isn’t spending at the same stratospheric levels as Bloomberg, yet with $83 million in ad buys so far, he’s still far outpacing everyone other than his fellow billionaire. The next highest spender on ads is Pete Buttigieg at $19 million.Carl Campanile at NY Post:
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is spending so much money on television spots across the country that it’s causing ad rates to soar, a new analysis shows.
“The typical [TV] market increased their rates by 22 percent as the political spending poured in,” an Advertising Analytics analysis found.
“Houston was among the markets that responded most actively to the new advertiser,” it added. “This is partially attributable to Bloomberg’s $1 [million] buy increasing the political spending in the market tenfold. This shock spending increase was matched by a 45% increase in rates, which is among the highest of any market.”
That means the massive spending is driving up advertising costs for Bloomberg’s competitors and other advertisers, an Advertising Analytics’ analysis of the billionaire’s first week of ad spending found.Asma Khalid at NPR:
Bloomberg's strategy is unique — and especially notable in a Democratic primary in which big money and billionaires have often been vilified.
As a late entrant in the race, Bloomberg is bypassing campaigning in the first four primary states and is instead focused on marshaling his money into advertising. In recent weeks he's been blanketing the airwaves, introducing himself to voters in essentially every TV market in the country.
Bloomberg's money strategy is not just about advertising; it's also about hiring, especially in the states that will vote right after the first four (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina).
"The recent announcement that he's added 200 staffers on the ground in a number of the March  Super Tuesday states, it changes the calculation a little bit for the candidates who are currently in," [D strategist Karen] Finney says.
Bloomberg's strategy is based on the assumption that Democratic voters are anxious about their options. His campaign thinks he has a path if no candidate emerges as the clear favorite after the first few states vote.
"You don't need to have early primary states," says Steve Williams, mayor of Huntington, W.Va. "He's got a network all across the country. What he has done, nobody, nobody has been able to match."
That network Williams is referring to, it's mayors — mayors who trust Bloomberg and feel indebted to him because they've received millions of dollars in grants to build art centers or fight climate change. After Bloomberg left office, he leveraged his personal fortune into helping other cities.
Earlier this month, Williams endorsed Bloomberg, whose foundation gave the city of Huntington assistance related to the opioid epidemic.
"Somebody helps you, you help them," Williams says, "and it's amazing how our city has benefited from Mayor Bloomberg's support."