Does ad spending matter? Mike Bloomberg announced Wednesday he was exiting the 2020 Democratic presidential race after launching an unorthodox bid for the White House in November and spending a record amount of cash in that short time.

He skipped the first four primary states but then put more than $570 million into advertising across the country according to ad tracking by Kantar/Campaign Media analysis group. At the time of his departure from the race the morning after Super Tuesday, he had amassed just 31 pledged delegates, meaning in total he had spent about $18 million per delegate earned according to CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice.

At the same time, only about $237 million of that total ad spending has been on ads targeting Super Tuesday state voters who headed to the polls March 3. The vast bulk of it had been spent in states that had not even voted by the time of his exit, including in Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.


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In Florida, Bloomberg spent nearly $48 million on ads. He also doled out more than $17 million in Ohio. Both battleground states hold presidential primaries on March 17. In New York, Bloomberg’s home state, he spent more than $26 million. In Pennsylvania, he spent $23 million. Neither state has voted yet — their primaries will be held on April 28, more than a month away. 

By comparison, Joe Biden, who won the most states on Super Tuesday, spent just over $2 million in total on television, radio and digital advertisements in those 14 states.

JOE BIDEN

After the endorsement of Mike Bloomberg, a beaming Joe Biden strolled into a Los Angeles hotel conference room to talk about his surprising wins last night across the country and invite people into the “movement” his campaign is building. While Biden did not mention Bernie Sanders by name, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson says he responded to Sanders’ attacks ads against him. 

“What we can’t let happen is let this primary turn into negative attacks,” Biden said, adding if it does then President Trump will win re-election. Asked by a reporter about Sanders’ claim that the Democratic “establishment” is trying to defeat him, Biden smiled and said, “The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African-Americans…they are the establishment!” These are the voters exit polls show he won on Super Tuesday. 

Later this evening, Biden is attending a fundraiser in Los Angeles. 

BERNIE SANDERS

CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte reports that after a Super Tuesday that Bernie Sanders had hoped would showcase his dominance but instead established Joe Biden’s dramatic comeback, the Vermont senator said, “Of course I’m disappointed,” but also noted he had won the primaries in his home state of Vermont, Utah, Colorado and likely California.  

“Now, I haven’t seen the latest delegate count, but my guess is that after California is thrown into the hopper, it’s gonna be pretty close. We may be up by a few. Biden may be up by a few. But I think we go forward, basically neck and neck,” said Sanders, voicing confidence in his standing.

By 4 p.m. Wednesday, Biden had 494 delegates to Sanders’ 425 and had won 10 out of the 14 states that voted Tuesday, according to CBS News’ calculations. Sanders sought to remind reporters at his field office in Burlington that he was exceeding expectations.

“If everybody here thought that a year would come and go, and we would be either tied for first — a few votes up, a few votes down, delegates up or down — that is a pretty amazing achievement,” he added.

Sanders admitted some pitfalls, including the fact that young voters, essential to his political revolution, have yet to show up in the numbers he was hoping to see.

“This is a campaign which is trying to bring, and it is not easy,” he said. People who have not been involved in the political process so if you might want to ask me, maybe as a follow-up question, ‘have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in?’ And the answer is no. We’re making some progress, but historically, everybody knows that young people do not vote in the kind of numbers that older people vote in.”

He expressed hope that this would not be the case after the primary process was settled, but his disappointment in the turnout of young voters was palpable.

“I think that will change in the general election, but I am honest — be honest with you,” he said. “We have not done as well in bringing young people into the political process. It is not easy.”

He also told reporters that he had spoken on the phone a few hours earler with Elizabeth Warren, who failed to win any states on Tuesday, including her home state of Massachusetts, where she placed third. 

“What Senator Warren told me is that she is assessing her campaign,” he said. “She has not made any decisions as of this point. And it is important, I think for all of us, certainly me, who known Elizabeth Warren for many, many years, to respect the time and the space that she needs to make her decision.”

Warren’s departure from the race would likely help Sanders’ standing in the races ahead. He’s hoping to do well in Michigan, where he beat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Should he win, it would solidify his argument that he can build a coalition of urban and working-class voters. A loss would imply he is losing support, especially after failing to win Minnesota and Massachusetts.

“We are going in there with a full expectation and the hope that we will win,” he said, calling it an “enormously important state” and one “I feel very comfortable in.” Trade is one issue he expects to bring up in Michigan.

Although he is trying to emphasize his distance from the former vice president, Sanders is trying to highlight his own relationship with the president he served, Barack Obama. Sanders released an ad Wednesday morning featuring President Obama’s praise of Sanders on some issues. Asked by CBS News what he hoped to achieve with that message, Sanders responded that though the two are not “best friends,” he and Mr. Obama talk every so often. Sanders said that he wanted to combat “dishonest statements about my relationship with Obama, to say that I worked with him and respect him and look forward to working with him.”

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ELIZABETH WARREN

Elizabeth Warren is assessing the future of her campaign after disappointing losses in Super Tuesday states, including a third-place finish in her home state of Massachusetts. Warren “is talking to her team to assess the path forward,” an aide to the Massachusetts senator told CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. Speaking to supporters on Tuesday evening, Warren indicated that she did not plan to drop out of the race. “My name is Elizabeth Warren, and I’m the woman who’s going to beat Donald Trump,” Warren said as she took the stage in Detroit. She urged voters not to listen to prognostications from pundits, but instead to vote with their hearts. 

“Prediction has been a terrible business, and the pundits have gotten it wrong over and over,” Warren said. In a memo to staff, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau said that the team was “disappointed in the results.” Lau said in the memo, “Last night, we fell well short of viability goals and projections, and we are disappointed in the results. We’re still waiting for more results to come in to get a better sense of the final delegate math. And we also all know the race has been extremely volatile in recent weeks and days with frontrunners changing at a pretty rapid pace.” He added, “But we are obviously disappointed.” Sanders told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he had spoken to Warren on the phone, and that she was assessing her campaign. He said it was important to “respect the time and the space that she needs to make her decision.”

CBSNews.com political reporter Grace Segers says the Democratic field appeared to narrow to a two-man race, after Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders each won several of the 14 states up for grabs on Tuesday. Mike Bloomberg, who only won American Samoa, announced Wednesday morning that he is dropping out of the race and endorsing Biden. In the run-up to Super Tuesday, Biden’s candidacy gathered strength from the endorsements of former opponents Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, indicating a consolidation of the party’s moderate wing behind the former vice president.

Biden picked up wins in Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas, according to CBS News projections, while Sanders won in Colorado, Utah and his home state of Vermont. Sanders is also currently leading in California.

*CBSN Political Reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report 

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG

After three months and over $500 million of his own personal money spent, Mike Bloomberg ended his presidential campaign.  Speaking to members of his staff and some supporters, Bloomberg delivered one of his most emotional speeches since entering the race in November last year according to CBS News campaign reporter Tim Perry.

“Today I am clear-eyed about our overriding objective. And that is victory in November. Not a victory for me our campaign, but victory for our country.”  Bloomberg said and added,  “If you remember, I entered the race for president to defeat Donald Trump. And today, I am leaving the race for the same reason, to defeat Donald Trump because staying in would make it more difficult to achieve that goal.” 

Bloomberg threw his endorsement to Joe Biden. He called Biden a friend, and someone he has worked extensively with on issues that they both care about. “I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. And after yesterday’s vote, it’s clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.” 

He also spoke about the odds he says his campaign was up against when he entered the race. He said “I knew we didn’t have much of a chance, but we did it anyway.” Bloomberg has vowed to hand over some of his enormous campaign infrastructure to the eventual Democratic nominee.

CALIFORNIA

The California primary currently leans towards Bernie Sanders. As of Wednesday afternoon, CBS News campaign reporters Musadiq Bidar and Alex Tin report Sanders has 33.6% of the vote followed by Joe Biden at 24.9%. Delegates in California are awarded at both the state level and in each of the 53 congressional districts. A candidate needs to reach a 15% threshold statewide to get a share of the 144 delegates while another 271 are awarded by reaching the same threshold in the congressional districts. Sanders and Biden are the only candidates currently reaching the 15% statewide viability threshold, while Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg reach that threshold in certain congressional districts. The current delegate allocation shows Sanders winning 150, Biden 99, Bloomberg 9, and Warren 1. With votes still being tabulated, these numbers will continue to change over the next several days.

Last night at some polling locations, Californians braved long wait times. Issues with new machinery in Los Angeles County contributed to some of the long wait times, some in excess of three hours, with multiple poll workers complaining to CBS News of paper jams and some user confusion. Even Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, when casting his ballot at a Southern California elementary school Tuesday morning, appeared to mistake one step of the process. Workers were given little opportunity for breaks, some working continuously from 6 a.m. Tuesday through midnight. As in every election, multiple locations also dealt with volunteers not showing up or abandoning their posts.

However, both poll workers and voters complained of broader issues. A tedious registration step which requires many voters to either same-day register, request a Democratic party ballot, or to have registered within the last month caused some delays. There were delays when they didn’t show up as having been processed in the voter rolls, causing bottle-necks where voters were waiting to check in, while plenty of ballot stations were free. 

The tablets provided for check-in occasionally crashed or lagged during the day, contributing to frustrations. Some Californians also faced poor load balancing, where an influx of voters seeking to cast their ballots at the last minute — as opposed to over the weeks-long early voting period — were unaware of nearby locations with shorter lines. The problem worsened as polling stations neared closing time, with some voters unwilling to risk abandoning their spot in line at one location in order to race to a nearby site. 

Multiple campaign observers reported seeing dozens of voters flee the long lines at their locations, and sought to encourage voters to stay or seek alternatives. Shortly before the polls closed, the Sanders campaign filed a complaint to keep polling locations in Los Angeles County open for an extra two hours. “After hearing reporters of voters facing 4-hour lines, the Bernie Sanders campaign has filed a complaint to prevent polling locations from closing at 8 p.m., to ensure that Angelenos can exercise their constitutional right to vote,” Sanders spokesperson Anna Bahr tweeted. 

At a press conference Tuesday night, L.A. County Registrar Dean Logan said the county had decided not to expand polling hours and apologized to voters who had waited in long lines. 

“I think that to have extended the hours would have just extended the lines, perhaps, and really wouldn’t have addressed the core issues,” Logan said.

Late-night polls across Southern California were also flooded with donated pizza and refreshments, mostly from anonymous donors. At a site in UCLA’s student union, were some voters reported some of the county’s longest waits, students flocked to hand out everything from leftover chicken wings to mountains of Oreos for their peers and faculty waiting in line, as stand-up comedians sought to elicit some laughs from the crowd that snaked across several rooms and out the building at one point. California’s counties have until next month to officially complete their vote count, as they tabulate and fold in ballots from the polling stations and vote-by-mail.

NORTH CAROLINA

As voting precincts began to close in North Carolina Tuesday evening, CBS News exit polling data showed that Joe Biden would win the state’s primary contest. With 42% of North Carolina Democratic primary voters choosing him as their pick, the former vice president would also dominate among black voters garnering more than 60% of their vote. 

During a Biden Super Tuesday election night party, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell spoke with voters who were initially doubtful of Biden’s prospects as the Democratic nominee but have since had a change of heart. 

“I’ve liked Biden…but I was concerned and just found out tonight, that the stutter is not age-related but it’s actually something he’s had all his life,” said Carol Canfield who voted early for former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and said his endorsement helped solidify her decision to donate to Biden’s campaign. “I feel better knowing that it’s not all age related—that stutter—because my concern has been all along, when he gets up next to [Trump]…he’s gonna start making fun of him like he’s in seventh grade.” 

Sandra Cummings, 68, voted early in North Carolina and while she wouldn’t say who she voted for she admitted that if she hadn’t voted early, she probably would’ve voted differently after seeing the results from the South Carolina Democratic primary contest where Biden won with almost half the vote. “I’ve always liked Biden…but unfortunately I didn’t think at the time that he was going to move forward,” said Cummings. “I don’t think Bernie can unite people, so I never was for Bernie.” 

CBS News exit polls showed that 31% of North Carolina voters said the most important candidate quality is someone who can unite the country. Andrew Taylor, who has been a registered Republican for over 50 years told CBS News Tuesday that in the general election he plans to vote for whomever the Democratic nominee is and would choose Biden over Sanders because he’s looking for a candidate who can help Democrats to take control of the Senate. 

“I don’t want any Republicans in any office. They can’t be trusted. They’ve lost the party and I’ll vote Democratic in the finals,” said Taylor. “I’ll vote against Trump in any election. Anybody but Trump.”

Separately in North Carolina, after courts ruled that the state’s congressional districts were politically gerrymandered “with surgical precision,” North Carolina’s map was redrawn to even the playing field. North Carolina’s 2nd and 6th Districts now include areas that favor Democrats more and two women, Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning, won the Democratic nods. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee immediately touted what will very likely be two new additions to their caucus, and DCCC spokesperson Robyn Patterson said, “Our gains tonight will make it even harder for Republican leadership to convince anyone the House is in play.” CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro says the gubernatorial matchup in the state is also set, with incumbent Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, facing Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest in November. Forest captured almost 90 percent of the Republican vote, but has a decent fundraising gap to cover as Cooper has close to $9 million cash on hand, while Forest has just under $1 million. 

IN THE SENATE

There were three Senate primaries of interest on Super Tuesday, and two of the three have advanced to a runoff. The top two candidates in the Republican primary in Alabama will head to a runoff on March 31 and the top two Democratic primary in Texas will have runoff on May 26, reports CBS News political associate producer Eleanor Watson. In North Carolina, veteran Cal Cunningham defeated Erica Smith in the Democratic primary and will go on to face Republican Senator Thom Tillis in the general election in November. 

Former attorney general Jeff Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville will compete in the runoff. Sessions is trying to win his former seat in a state that President Trump, who fired him as attorney general, won by almost 30 points in 2016. Trump’s comments in the race have largely targeted Roy Moore, the former sheriff who lost the 2017 special election to Doug Jones, a Democrat. But he also mocked his former attorney general’s inability to win the primary outright in a tweet Wednesday.

“This is what happens to someone who loyally gets appointed Attorney General of the United States & then doesn’t have the wisdom or courage to stare down & end the phony Russia Witch Hunt. Recuses himself on FIRST DAY in office, and the Mueller Scam begins!” Mr. Trump wrote.

In the primary on Tuesday, Moore won about 7% of the vote, eliminating him from a runoff. Tuberville won 33% of the vote, and Sessions won 31.6%. Congressman Bradley Byrne fell behind at 25.2%. Since no candidate reached the 50% threshold, the top two, Tuberville and Byrne, will compete in a runoff at the end of the month. CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster reports former Air Force pilot M.J. Hegar advanced to a runoff in the crowded Democratic Senate primary in Texas. None of the candidates crossed the 50% threshold, so there will be a runoff election in May to determine which Democratic nominee will challenge Republican incumbent John Cornyn in November. With 86% of precincts reporting, Hegar is leading with 22.1% of the vote. Hegar, who lost a congressional race in Texas in 2018, has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. She was leading the counties that encompass Austin and Houston and many others in eastern central Texas. Trailing Hegar are longtime Texas State Senator Royce West with 14.4% of the vote and progressive organizer Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, who received an endorsement from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with 13.2% of the vote. West has represented Dallas in the Texas Senate since 1993 and received about a third of his votes from Dallas County. Tzintzun Ramirez performed well in San Antonio, El Paso and parts of the Rio Grande Valley.

IN THE HOUSE

There were more than 100 Congressional districts that had primaries last night, and most of the key ones to watch ended with the status quo winner. The Democrat primary Texas’ 28th District had a tight finish, with incumbent Democrat Henry Cuellar fending off the challenge from upstart progressive Jessica Cisneros. The gap between the two was about 4%, a much smaller margin than Cuellar has had in his 15-year career in Congress. In a press conference in Laredo today, CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports that Cisneros left a voicemail conceding to Cuellar this morning. 

“Obviously the establishment machine and corporate money on the other side fought back for the incumbent this time,” she said at the presser. “I think if anything, what what he should have gotten from last night’s results is that there’s so many people that agree with the vision that this campaign has, and I’m hoping that he’s really willing to reach out to those folks and listen to us.” 

Another incumbent with a primary challenger, Republican Kay Granger of Texas’ 12th, handily won against Chris Putnam. It’s notable that Granger is the only current GOP woman serving in the Texas delegation, which is part of the larger trend of record lows of Republican House Congresswomen. The Republican campaign House arm has been touting their number of recruits to fix this, and saw some wins with Genevieve Collins in Texas’ 32nd and Beth Van Duyne in Texas’ 24th. Both are in suburban districts that’ll be competitive come November. 

In Texas’ 22nd, the grandson of the late George H.W. Bush, Pierce Bush, was blocked out of moving on to the Republican runoff. Instead, Troy Nehls and Kathaleen Wall will face off in May for Congressman Pete Olson’s old seat. While votes out west in California will be counted in full over the coming days, some matchups are set. 

Two freshmen House Democrats, T.J. Cox of California’s 21st and Gil Cisneros of California’s 39th, will have rematches with their 2018 Republican opponents. Cox will face former Representative David Valadao, while Cisneros will face Young Kim. 

The battle for Katie Hill’s old seat is also wrapping up, as Democrat assemblywoman Christy Smith will likely see Republican veteran Mike Garcia in the special election general on May 12. 

In San Diego, the race for Duncan Hunter’s seat is still too close to call, but right now former Representative Darrell Issa is ahead of conservative talk show host Carl Demaio. Whoever wins between the two will occupy the second slot in the jungle primary to Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, who was the district’s Democrat nominee in 2018.  

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