The brief, three-month presidential campaign of billionaire Michael Bloomberg came to an end recently, after the former mayor of New York City failed to make a dent in his delegate deficit on Super Tuesday. But even though Bloomberg may have failed to become the Democratic nominee for president, he did succeed in getting his name on the books as the man behind the most expensive self-funded political campaign ever, spending more than half a billion dollars of his own money in ad expenditures alone.
NPR reports that Bloomberg crossed the $500 million threshold just days before Super Tuesday. But the day's voting didn't hand Bloomberg the come-from-behind momentum he was hoping to get by blanketing the country in TV, radio, and internet ads, and the following day he suspended his campaign and endorsed former VP Joe Biden instead. And he's planning to keep his campaign infrastructure in place to support whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is with the ultimate goal of defeating Donald Trump in November.
Bloomberg is just the latest ultra-wealthy person to try to direct his own vast financial resources toward becoming president, but none of his predecessors have really come close to spending as much money as he did. In 2016, Donald Trump put a reported $66 million of his own money into his presidential campaign, and Steve Forbes spent even more than that in 2000, spending some $76 million on his own (failed) presidential campaign. One of the most famous self-funded presidential candidates in recent memory is probably Ross Perot, who spent nearly $66 million on his third party run back in 1992. And Senator Rick Scott proved that you don't have to run for president to spend presidential amounts of money when he dropped almost $64 million into his successful run for US Senate in Florida. Now, these and every other self-funded political candidate in US history have been left in the dust by Bloomberg – at least in terms of money spent.