Mike Bloomberg will join the Democratic presidential debate stage for the first time Wednesday night, but he’s already been a fixture in Colorado living rooms for months, as he’s flooded the airwaves with more than $5 million in TV ads.
Go back further, and the billionaire former New York City mayor has showered Colorado in cash for much of the last decade — long before he was a candidate.
Bloomberg and associated organizations have sent well in excess of $10 million to the state in the form of charitable contributions, local government grants and, most prominently, political donations that helped fuel Colorado’s debates on guns and education reforms, according to a Denver Post analysis of campaign finance records and media reports.
Bloomberg’s past activity bought him a reserve of goodwill in Colorado that he’s drawing on now as he builds the biggest state campaign staff of the major Democratic candidates. His spending in support of climate change measures and gun control efforts — which came to a head when the legislature approved several measures in 2013 — has been in sync with the views of most Democratic primary voters.
But that free-spending largesse, estimated at more than $6 million in political donations alone, also bought him enemies. Among them are teachers unions and advocates for traditional public schools, a large Democratic constituency that has voiced more skepticism about Bloomberg’s presidential bid.