AUSTIN (KXAN) — The former Mayor of New York City, billionaire Mike Bloomberg, is targeting Texas in his run to take on President Trump in next year’s election.
He’s spent more than $50 million nationwide on TV ads — more than $4 million of that on TV ads in Texas, according to Advertising Analytics.
Bloomberg has already jumped the largest hurdle for a campaign in Texas: having money to spread the message in every media market in Texas — paid for by his personal fortune.
But other candidates like Julian Castro say that strength is actually a weakness for Democratic voters, claiming he’s trying to simply buy the election.
“Ten months in billionaire Michael Bloomberg is jumping in the race to use his personal fortune to try and buy the nomination,” former HUD Secretary Castro wrote in a fundraising email. “We don’t need another ego-driven billionaire flooding the airwaves. We know your support isn’t for sale.”
KXAN asked Bloomberg’s Senior Advisor Tim O’Brien about that.
“There’s a long tradition of people with resources and wealth running for the Presidency. From George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt to John Kennedy, and the notion that someone shouldn’t enter a race simply because they’re wealthy, I think cuts the conversation needlessly short,” said O’Brien.
Bloomberg, according to his senior advisor, already considers this race a general election, taking on Trump directly. He’s already pledged more than $15 million to register new voters and get them to vote; much of that money will go to Texas.
“I think he feels like there is a broad swath of Americans who feel at sea, and are worried about being able to coalesce and unite the party and take on Donald Trump,” said O’Brien.
But will that sway Texas democrats to vote Bloomberg?
Ed Espinoza, Executive Director of Progress Texas, says not by itself but they are listening.
“I think his positions on gun safety have given him some pretty good progressive bonafides. We will have to see how he plays out on the rest of the issues. Where do you stand on voting rights? Where do you stand on reproductive rights? Where do you stand on healthcare and climate change? Those are going to be critical issues in this primary,” said Espinoza.
The primary is next March.
One of the few polls with Bloomberg in the race shows him with 5% support among primary voters. That’s far behind top candidates like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg.