Bloomberg’s spending on N.C. political ads squeezes other opponents

As it stands now, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s decision to skip the Iowa caucuses is looking downright genius given the chaos reigning in the Hawkeye state.

But Bloomberg’s decision to skip Iowa and New Hampshire and go for broke on Super Tuesday— when North Carolina will be holding its primary–is having a ripple effect on other political candidates here in the Tar Heel state. Bloomberg’s heavy spending–surely you’ve noticed his TV commercials–is driving up the cost of a 30-second ad:

Bloomberg has spent a total of $304 million on advertising. Through December, he’d already eclipsed the record for self-financing, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And The New York Times reported Tuesday that he plans to double his TV spending in markets where he is currently on the air.

“Amid this huge spending spike, North Carolina broadcasters are clearly responding like rational market actors by raising rates for all candidates when Bloomberg spends,” John Link, a company vice president, said in the report.

“In fact, higher spending tends to lead to higher rates statewide,” he added. “(M)arket rates rose a dollar for every $1,100 that Bloomberg spent. Considering he spent a total of $7M, this is not insignificant.”

And it’s not just other presidential candidates Bloomberg’s squeezing, either:

“He’s running the price up,” Bill Toole, one of six Democrats running for lieutenant governor, said of Bloomberg. “It makes it hard for folks in the less well-known races which are every bit as important for North Carolina.”

And –last but not least–it’s not just a money issue. There’s only so much air time in a 24-hour day, so the more time Bloomberg buys, that simply leaves less time for another candidate or, for that matter, a local business trying to advertise.

Bloomberg’s rich, and he’s financing his own campaign. Good for him, I say. This is the free market economy at work. But I just love the way it works for these liberal presidential candidates who don’t want it to work for us.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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