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Rivals blast Bloomberg for trying to 'buy' the Democratic nomination

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg

NYC media magnate has already spent over $400 million on ads, more than all other candidates combined.

Posted: Feb 16, 2020 5:58 PM
Updated: Feb 16, 2020 6:02 PM

RENO, Nev. (AP) — With the Nevada caucuses less than a week away, Democratic presidential candidates campaigning Sunday were fixated on a rival who wasn't contesting the state.

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar all targeted billionaire Mike Bloomberg, accusing him of buying his way into the election and making clear they were eager to take him on in a debate.

“He thinks he can buy this election,” Sanders said of the former New York mayor at a rally in Reno. “Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Bloomberg — the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections!”

Their attacks are a sign of how seriously the field is starting to take Bloomberg as he gains traction in the race and is on the cusp of qualifying for Wednesday's Democratic debate in Las Vegas. Bloomberg has bypassed the traditional early voting states including Nevada, focusing instead on the 14 states that vote in the Super Tuesday primary on March 3. He has spent more than $417 million of his own multibillion-dollar fortune on advertising nationwide, an unprecedented sum for any candidate in a primary.

The focus on Bloomberg comes amid anxiety among many establishment-aligned Democrats over the early strength of Sanders, who won last week's New Hampshire primary and essentially tied for first place in Iowa with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Sanders is hoping to notch a victory in Nevada on Saturday as moderates struggle to unite behind a candidate who could serve as a counter to the Vermont senator, who has long identified as a democratic socialist.

The hundreds of millions of dollars that Bloomberg has pumped into the Super Tuesday states has only heightened the sense of uncertainty surrounding the Democratic race.

Klobuchar, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” accused Bloomberg of avoiding scrutiny by blanketing the airwaves and sidestepping debates or tough televised interviews.

“I think he cannot hide behind the airwaves and the money," she said. “I think he has to come on the shows. And I personally think he should be on the debate stage.”

Klobuchar said she's raised $12 million since her better-than-expected finish in third place in New Hampshire. She's maintained her campaign through a series of strong debate performances and argued that Bloomberg being on stage with his rivals would level the playing field.

“I’m never going to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage,” she said.

Biden, speaking on NBC's “Meet the Press,” suggested that Bloomberg will face increased scrutiny as the race continues, pointing to his record on issues relating to race.

“$60 billion can buy you a lot of advertising, but it can't erase your record,” he said.

Biden knocked Bloomberg’s past support of stop-and-frisk policing policies and his comments suggesting cracking down on racist mortgage lending practices contributed to the financial crisis, as well as his 2008 refusal to endorse Barack Obama for president. Bloomberg has been airing ads that tie him closely to Obama on issues like gun control and climate change.

At Sanders’ rally, the crowd cheered as the Vermont senator joked that Bloomberg is “struggling, he’s down to his last $60 billion" and derided him for skipping the early primary states. But Sanders then broadened his attacks to encompass Biden and Buttigieg, who have been raising millions from high-dollar events.

“It is not just Donald Trump. It is not just Mike Bloomberg," he said. “We’ve got candidates who are running for the Democratic nomination, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden — nice guys, I don’t mean to criticize them. But they are reaching out, both of them have received campaign contributions from more than 40 billionaires."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 333626

Reported Deaths: 3843
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin700691145
Ramsey29459521
Dakota23564198
Anoka23541236
Washington14864125
Stearns14564125
St. Louis9549121
Scott896460
Wright847548
Olmsted714637
Sherburne618746
Clay529960
Carver509715
Kandiyohi440828
Rice432338
Blue Earth431217
Crow Wing383339
Otter Tail338925
Chisago334516
Benton322753
Nobles316032
Winona297832
Douglas283040
Mower274823
Polk271527
Morrison246731
McLeod233721
Lyon232812
Beltrami230718
Goodhue222932
Becker221521
Steele21038
Itasca206324
Isanti203917
Carlton201417
Todd190314
Nicollet172126
Mille Lacs164632
Freeborn16227
Le Sueur157012
Brown156115
Cass153511
Pine14498
Meeker144812
Waseca143411
Roseau13035
Martin124721
Hubbard119729
Wabasha11301
Redwood104620
Chippewa9808
Renville95530
Cottonwood9454
Dodge9311
Watonwan8944
Wadena8637
Sibley8404
Rock8249
Houston8004
Aitkin79930
Fillmore7690
Pipestone76518
Pennington7058
Yellow Medicine69612
Kanabec68614
Swift63610
Murray6124
Faribault6093
Pope5721
Clearwater55410
Marshall5459
Stevens5403
Jackson5321
Lake4518
Koochiching4216
Wilkin4175
Lac qui Parle4124
Lincoln3811
Unassigned38159
Norman3718
Big Stone3392
Mahnomen3225
Grant2986
Kittson2518
Red Lake2303
Traverse1531
Lake of the Woods1071
Cook800

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 237371

Reported Deaths: 2571
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk34873347
Linn14787169
Scott1184692
Black Hawk11288147
Woodbury10763137
Johnson985939
Dubuque947999
Story701924
Pottawattamie682474
Dallas661260
Sioux383829
Webster378339
Cerro Gordo373252
Marshall360950
Clinton345645
Buena Vista316614
Muscatine305172
Des Moines300623
Warren294115
Plymouth287044
Wapello265072
Jones237118
Jasper231546
Lee228719
Marion211922
Carroll204325
Bremer202713
Henry19367
Crawford183116
Benton175423
Tama157442
Jackson151117
Washington150216
Delaware147621
Dickinson145812
Boone144912
Mahaska133928
Wright13107
Clay12505
Buchanan123410
Hardin122812
Hamilton119514
Page11925
Kossuth11768
Clayton115510
Cedar114614
Harrison113432
Floyd111921
Mills11129
Calhoun10987
Fayette109812
Lyon10769
Butler10748
Winneshiek105513
Poweshiek103714
Iowa101414
Cherokee9674
Winnebago96325
Chickasaw9195
Hancock9138
Sac9068
Louisa90122
Grundy89514
Allamakee88413
Cass84725
Union8437
Mitchell8429
Appanoose81613
Humboldt8125
Shelby80511
Emmet79026
Guthrie78315
Franklin76421
Jefferson7635
Madison7265
Unassigned7090
Palo Alto6744
Keokuk6567
Pocahontas6024
Howard5859
Ida54915
Osceola5461
Greene5422
Montgomery51411
Clarke5064
Davis4839
Taylor4833
Monona4567
Adair4539
Monroe45113
Worth3881
Fremont3823
Van Buren3815
Decatur3410
Lucas3416
Audubon3112
Wayne3087
Ringgold2432
Adams1812
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