Bloomberg commits to spend $100 million to help Biden in Florida

The former Democratic presidential candidate is aiming to free up Joe Biden's campaign to focus on other key battleground states.
Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks in Blountville, Tenn., on Feb. 28, 2020.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks in Blountville, Tenn., on Feb. 28.Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

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By Josh Lederman

WASHINGTON — Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is committing to spend $100 million in Florida to help Joe Biden win the state.

Bloomberg's $100 million "will be used to turn out voters for Joe Biden in Florida" through a mix of television and digital ads, in both English and Spanish, a spokeswoman for the effort said Sunday, with a key focus on Hispanic voters. The money will be spent partly through Independence USA, Bloomberg's personal super PAC. Some of the funds will also be earmarked for other Democratic super PACs and Democratic election efforts in Florida that are already under way.

The goal is to free up the Biden campaign to spend its own money in other key states, like Pennsylvania, as well as to force Republicans and President Donald Trump's campaign to spend heavily in Florida, leaving Republicans with less to spend elsewhere, the spokeswoman said.

"Mike Bloomberg is committed to helping defeat Trump, and that is going to happen in the battleground states," said Kevin Sheekey, a senior adviser and former campaign manager for Bloomberg, a 2020 presidential candidate. "Mike's substantial investment in Florida, in addition to his contributions to the DNC and to voter protection and restoration efforts this cycle, will mean Democrats and the Biden campaign can invest even more heavily in other key states like Pennsylvania, which will be critical to a Biden victory."

The race for Florida's 29 electoral votes is tightening, with an NBC News/Marist poll last week showing Biden and Trump tied there with 48 percent of likely voters. That poll and others of late have shown Biden underperforming among Latino voters in Florida, where Trump has been campaigning heavily.

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Trump's campaign still predicts he will win Florida, but campaign officials briefed reporters last week about potential paths for Trump to win the election even if he loses Florida — a rare acknowledgment that he could lose his adopted home state. Trump won Florida by barely 1 percentage point in 2016.

The president reacted to the announcement Sunday morning, tweeting: "I thought Mini Mike was through with Democrat politics after spending almost 2 Billion Dollars, and then giving the worst and most inept Debate Performance in the history of Presidential Politics. Pocahontas ended his political career on first question, OVER! Save NYC instead."

But Democrats, still vexed by Bloomberg's about-face on helping Democrats this year, may be skeptical that he'll follow through this time. When Bloomberg entered the Democratic presidential primary campaign, he vowed to keep his massive campaign apparatus going until Election Day to help the Democratic nominee, even if it wasn't him.

Then, when he dropped out of the race, he reversed course and laid off his whole staff, prompting multiple lawsuits and allegations that he misled employees to whom his campaign had promised jobs through November. Instead of running his own effort to elect a Democratic president, Bloomberg transferred $18 million to the Democratic National Committee.

Bloomberg spent well over $400 million on his own campaign this year. In recent days, Trump has raised the possibility that he may put his own money into his re-election campaign, as well.

Bloomberg's spokeswoman emphasized that he was also spending heavily on other races and initiatives, including $5 million he gave to former George gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight effort on voter suppression and $60 million that Bloomberg has committed to efforts to elect Democrats to the House.