Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once Joe Biden’s competitor in the race for the Democratic nomination, is now committing $100 million to help the former vice president defeat President Donald Trump in Florida.
The late infusion of cash from Bloomberg could alter the landscape in the Sunshine State, the country’s largest campaign battleground and where polls show a tightening race with less than eight weeks until the election. The announcement follows the suggestion last week by Trump, a Florida voter, that he may inject some of his personal wealth into his campaign.
Bloomberg’s commitment, first reported by the Washington Post, will certainly help Biden maintain a strong presence on Florida’s airwaves through Nov. 3. Biden has targeted specific markets with advertisements about Trump’s record on military issues, Medicare and Social Security and the coronavirus. But a $100 million injection could extend Biden’s reach statewide and boost Spanish-language advertising in key areas.
Time is running out to move the needle. Though he consistently leads Trump in statewide surveys, recent polls suggest Biden is struggling to win over Hispanic and Latino voters, especially in South Florida, where Republicans have an advantage among Cuban Americans. And though the election is almost two months away, counties will send out mail-in ballots Sept. 24 and early voting begins in mid-October.
Bloomberg was a late entrant in the Democratic race for president, motivated in part by concerns that Biden wasn’t generating enough enthusiasm to energize the party against Trump. Some well-known Florida Democrats quickly gravitated to Bloomberg’s campaign, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy and former state chief financial officer Alex Sink.
But Bloomberg was dogged by past allegations of sexual harassment and Biden proved more formidable than many thought. Bloomberg’s strategy to quickly spent hundreds of millions of dollars to catch up in states with later primaries like Florida failed. He dropped out after Super Tuesday and endorsed Biden.
Tampa Bay Times elections coverage
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