Many states are planning on drastically different elections this year and mail-in ballots could be a big game changer.
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday he plans to spend at least $100 million to help Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the crucial battleground state of Florida, where polling has tightened in recent weeks as President Donald Trump fights for a second term.
“Voting starts on Sept. 24 in Florida so the need to inject real capital in that state quickly is an urgent need,” Bloomberg adviser Kevin Sheekey told The Washington Post. “Mike believes that by investing in Florida it will allow campaign resources and other Democratic resources to be used in other states, in particular the state of Pennsylvania.”
Bloomberg, whose net worth is estimated at more than $50 billion, spent about $1 billion on his own failed Democratic primary bid before dropping out and immediately endorsing Biden. He vowed to “do whatever it takes to defeat Trump” and has contributed millions to help Democratic candidates in 2020. He transferred $18 million from his presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee.
It has been nearly 100 years since a Republican won a presidential election without Florida and a Biden victory there would dramatically narrow Trump’s path to winning the Electoral College. It would require the president to hold all that states he won in 2016 including battleground states like Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He currently trails Biden in the polls in five of those states.
Trump reacted to the news of Bloomberg’s planned contribution with a tweet that mocked the former New York mayor’s failed primary bid. In the tweet, Trump referred to Bloomberg with a disparaging nickname and claimed he spent $2 billion, doubling his actual expenditures.
Trump said Bloomberg gave “the worst and most inept Debate Performance in the history of Presidential Politics.” Referring to her with a racist nickname, Trump said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “ended his political career on first question, OVER!” During Bloomberg’s first debate on Feb. 20, Warren confronted him on allegations he had made crude remarks about women and many commentators thought he appeared unprepared to address the issue.
“Save NYC instead,” Trump advised Bloomberg.
Republicans are confident about their chance in Florida this year, pointing to GOP wins in 2018 and stronger-than-expected turnout in 2016 as evidence the state is trending in their direction. They’ve invested millions in Florida focused on Latino outreach and boosting their field operation.
Most polls found Biden with a strong lead in Florida through July. His lead in the RealClearPolitics average in the state peaked at more than 8 percentage points at the end of that month before dropping to less than half that by the end of August. A recent NBC News/Marist poll found Biden and Trump tied in Florida as of Sunday, his RealClearPolitics average lead was down to 1.2 points.
Most of Bloomberg’s contribution will go toward television and digital advertising in the state where Republicans are outspending Democrats by about $8 million, according to The Associated Press. The ads will be in both English and Spanish as polls show Biden trailing Trump among Latino voters in the state.
Poll: A majority of young Latinos support Biden over Trump
Many more Democrats than Republicans plan to vote by mail, according to polls. That has raised the possibility that Trump would appear victorious on election night, only to see that lead slip away as the mailed-in ballots are counted. Democrats are concerned Trump – who has declared, without evidence, that voting-by-mail is a plot to steal the election – would use that discrepancy to cast doubt on the election results.
“It would give lie to what we expect to be Trump’s election night messaging that Democrats are stealing the election, because unlike other battleground states, Florida counts its absentee ballots on or by Election Day,” Wolfson said. “We think Florida is incredibly close but winnable.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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