Why the Bloomberg Campaign Really Isn't Over

Michael Bloomberg's defeat in the presidential primary has not stopped his full-throttle campaign to remove Donald Trump from office.

The former mayor of New York City has ramped up efforts to beat Trump in a self-funded strategy designed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising and fieldwork to leave his mark on the Democratic primary race and in the general election.

Bloomberg, who had $55 million in cash in his campaign account as of February 1 and is estimated to be worth $58 billion, has said he will use his personal fortune to essentially create a one-man super PAC.

"When you're as wealthy as Michael Bloomberg, you can easily spend sums in politics that make other people's jaws drop," said Michael Beckel, the research director at the campaign finance reform group Issue One. "Even though he is no longer a candidate himself, Michael Bloomberg's presence will loom large over the 2020 presidential race."

It won't be the first time that Bloomberg has thrown his resources behind a Democratic cause. In the 2018 midterm election cycle, he spent more than $100 million to help the party regain control of the House of Representatives. The money was primarily poured into the Independence USA PAC, a group he founded. He also donated to the Senate Majority PAC to support Democratic candidates running for election to the upper chamber.

His investment appeared to pay off. Overall, Democratic candidates won 21 of the 24 races he sought to influence. The party ended up flipping 40 seats to gain majority control in the House. Democratic strategist Michael Starr Hopkins, who worked on President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign and Hillary Clinton's run in 2016, said if Bloomberg could accomplish in 2020 what he did in 2018 it would be a "game-changer."

Bloomberg is banking on that strategy again. This year, he's opted to form an independent expenditure campaign to help elect the Democratic nominee in November, and will target six swing states that are expected to be crucial to the outcome of the 2020 election: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to The Washington Post.

The super PAC will be a vehicle for the former mayor to set up field offices and outreach staff in the half-dozen competitive states his team identified. Bloomberg's campaign told NBC News that he would guarantee 500 staffers full pay through November if they remained part of the effort to take down Trump.

It would also allow him to launch an advertising blitz on par or even exceeding the one used by his presidential campaign. In the four months he ran for president, Bloomberg spent a staggering $500 million—most of which was doled out on advertising. In fact, he spent more than $100 for every $1 that Joe Biden invested on Super Tuesday television ads, yet the former vice president won 10 states and Bloomberg won just one territory.

And Biden himself is the most likely beneficiary of Bloomberg's efforts is the former vice president. During his concession speech, Bloomberg called Biden a "great American" who has the best chance to defeat Trump and urged his supporters to help Biden win in the general election. Gun control groups he funds— Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action—have come out to endorse Biden, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The offer of help appears to have been welcomed by the Biden team.

"I can't thank you enough for your support—and for your tireless work on everything from gun safety reform to climate change," Biden tweeted to him earlier this month. "This race is bigger than candidates and bigger than politics. It's about defeating Donald Trump, and with your help, we're gonna do it."

However, details on how exactly Bloomberg could lend his support have yet to be discussed, The New York Times reported. Campaign finance laws prohibit the new organization from consulting directly with the candidate or with the Democratic National Committee.

The billionaire also will continue to fund Hawkfish, a digital start-up he founded to support Democratic campaigns. During his own 2020 bid, Bloomberg had dumped $25.7 million into the tech company, according to disclosures from the FEC.

He also is lending his weight to the get-out-the-vote efforts by donating $2 million to Collective Future, the nonprofit arm of The Collective PAC, which aims to boost black voter registration, according to reports.

michael bloomberg florida super tuesday
Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg waves to supporters as he arrives at his campaign rally at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 3, 2020. Bloomberg dropped out of the race the next day to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden. Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Plus, Bloomberg's money is not just going to be used to help boost the Democratic nominee. His 2020 campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told MSNBC shortly after Bloomberg dropped out that the campaign would continue to air anti-Trump ads. And according to The Wall Street Journal, at least half of Bloomberg's $500 million campaign investment went to anti-Trump ads. The newspaper reported Wednesday that Bloomberg invested about $225 million on 31 different television advertisements slamming the president.

"I think that was one of the most impressive parts about Bloomberg's campaign," Hopkins said. "His ads were second to none."

After Trump called Bloomberg's failed 2020 bid the "most embarrassing experience of his life," Bloomberg sealed his promise to defeat Trump in a tweet.

"See you soon, Donald," he wrote alongside a clip from Star Wars in which a character tells Darth Vader: "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."