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Bloomberg campaign spending tops $409 million

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has plunged over $400 million of his personal fortune into his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, an astronomical sum that has led many of his rivals to charge that he is trying to buy the crown.

The figures, which his campaign released ahead of Thursday's campaign finance reporting deadline, lay bare the massive operation the billionaire has built since his late entrance into the race at the end of November.

Other leading contenders have yet to detail their finances, which weren't due until midnight. But the sheer size and scope of Bloomberg' spending left little doubt that he is vastly outspending even his best financed rivals like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

It's enabled him to build a sprawling apparatus, hire staff, court influential political figures and communicate with voters both online and on TV. That gives him an edge in the states that have yet to vote where the other contenders have only minimal operations.

“Our campaign has built a nationwide organization that is engaging voters daily about Mike’s record of taking on tough fights and winning," campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement. "With over 2,400 staff across 43 states today, Mike is the only candidate with the record and resources to build the national infrastructure Democrats need to beat Donald Trump."

Bloomberg's campaign reported spending $220 million in the month of January alone. Forty-five million of that went toward digital advertising; another $126 million was spent on TV.

Payroll in January for his legions of staffers, who are paid above market-rate salaries, was $7.7 million, while corporate housing for many staffers cost an additional $1.2 million

Rent for his more than 100 campaign office cost $1.3 million

The eye-popping figures could help Bloomberg turn the corner on a widely-panned debate performance Wednesday night in Las Vegas, where he struggled to respond to attacks, particularly from Warren. She spearheaded a broad take-down, harshly criticizing him as "a billionaire who calls people fat broads and horse-faced lesbians" while highlighting his past embrace of “stop and frisk” police tactics as mayor that predominantly affected minorities.

After the debate Warren even warned that he was likely to use a new tranche of spending to move beyond the debate stage brawl.

"You know what I’ll bet he’s doing right now? I’ll bet he’s reaching in his pocket and spending $100 million more on advertising to try to erase everyone’s memory of what happened last night," Warren said during an appearance Thursday on ABC's The View.