Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a Democratic candidate for president is open to spending a billion dollars of his personal money on the 2020 presidential race, even if he does not win the Democratic nomination.
He hopes to mobilize his well-financed political operation to help Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren win in November if either is the party nominee, despite their sharp policy differences.
Bloomberg’s plans would effectively create a shadow campaign operation for the general election, complete with hundreds of organizers in key battleground states and a robust digital operation.
Bloomberg has spent more than $200 million on advertising, putting him on pace to spend by early March about the same as what President Barack Obama’s campaign spent on advertising over the course of the entire 2012 general election.
If Bloomberg fails to win the nomination, future spending would be redirected toward attacking Trump.
“It depends whether the candidate needs help; if they’re doing very well, they need less. If they’re not, they’ll need more,” he said in an interview after a lunch stop at a barbecue restaurant during a campaign swing through Texas.
While he did not rule out dropping $1 billion on his effort, the former mayor of New York City blanched slightly at the size of the number, before mentioning the $2.8 billion he spent on charitable contributions last year, with the bulk going to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University.
“You know how much money a billion dollars is?” Bloomberg said.
“It’s a lot of money to me. It’s a lot of money to anybody.”
In 2018, Bloomberg spent more than $110 million to elect Democratic House members through his Super PAC, a vehicle that could be transitioned to assist with a general election effort.
His extraordinary wealth, estimated at more than $50 billion, has drawn a series of attacks from the liberal candidates in the field, who argue he is essentially trying to purchase the party nomination.