Bloomberg says he’ll spend $100 million to help Biden beat Trump in Florida

*** In a screenshot from the DNCC's livestream of the Democratic National Convention, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses the virtual convention on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (DNCC/Getty Images/TNS) **
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By David Smiley Miami Herald (TNS)

MIAMI — Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire former New York mayor whose self-funded presidential bid fell short this year, says he’ll spend $100 million over the next seven weeks to help Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden win Florida.

Bloomberg’s financial commitment is aimed at turning out voters for Biden in the Nov. 3 election in Florida, generally viewed as a must-win for President Donald Trump. Bloomberg says he intends to focus especially on Hispanic voters, a key constituency that could swing the election in Florida.

Polls have shown Trump performing better with Florida Latinos than he did in 2016. A recently released Bendixen & Amandi International poll of Miami-Dade found Trump and Biden splitting the county’s Hispanic voters, with Trump performing especially well with Cuban Americans.

The money will flow through Bloomberg’s Independence USA Super PAC, as well as other Democratic organizations, according to a Bloomberg spokesperson.

Bloomberg’s commitment — which comes amid reports that President Donald Trump might spend $100 million of his own fortune to boost his reelection hopes — should be a shot in the arm for Biden. Polls show a tightening race in Florida ahead of the release of millions of domestic mail ballots on Sept. 24. A RealClearPolitics polling average shows Biden with a lead in Florida over Trump of 1.2% — the same margin by which Trump beat 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“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, which first reported Bloomberg’s plans. “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.”

Pennsylvania is another key swing state in the election, with 20 electoral college votes.

Florida is key to Trump’s reelection hopes. It’s been nearly 100 years since a Republican presidential candidate lost Florida and won the election, and Trump’s path to victory narrows considerably without Florida’s 29 electoral college votes.

“The road to the White House goes through Florida,” Bloomberg told the Miami Herald during a January campaign stop in Wynwood, when he was still seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. He dropped out in early March.

Florida — with 10 media markets and 14 million voters — is an expensive place to campaign, and self-funding candidates have had success in spending their own money. Former governor and current Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has used his own personal fortune to boost his candidacy during his three statewide runs over the last decade, all of which were decided by narrow margins.

Joshua Karp, a Democratic political consultant based in Florida, called the announcement “great news.”

“Florida can be intimidating to outside groups because of its size,’ Karp said, “but it’s the single state that by itself can deny Trump a second term.”

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