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Bloomberg’s $3 Million Ad Buy Could Force Other Presidential Candidates To Spend More In Texas

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banking heavily on the Texas primary, while skipping the first four state contests.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg


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Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is spending more than $3 million of his own money on a TV ad campaign in Texas markets, including Houston. This could signal a costly year ahead for candidates competing for the Lone Star State's support, according to analysts.

Up to this point, candidates haven't spent much in Texas. Stephanie Martin, who teaches communication and public affairs at Southern Methodist University, said Bloomberg's ad buy could kick off a financial arms race.

"Texas is a big media market. It's expensive, and so the candidates may well start to pay more attention to what's going to happen in Texas," Martin said. "If a candidate like Bloomberg could get attention in the primary and come in after the first four states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada – if he could make a play in Texas by spending a lot of money, then that would be a big deal, and so you may see the other candidates have to start paying attention to a state that doesn't have as much potential in the general."

That's just for the Democratic primary, where candidates are battling for the second-biggest bloc of convention delegates after California's. But Martin said that even though Texas would be a heavy lift for Democrats, their willingness to spend big in the Lone Star State could force Republicans to spend more here as well during the general election campaign.

"It will not be as easy for Republicans to win states like Texas," she said, "or they may well have to defend against erosion in the support of the suburbs."

Martin said President Trump's campaign war chest gives him a big advantage, but money he spends here won't be available for use in other battleground states.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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